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Bob Kohorst, '78, and Shelly Allen

Building Support/Family philanthropy

Always over-tip the breakfast waitress, because 15 percent of a breakfast check isn’t enough.  That’s one of the many ways, large and small, through which Shelley Allen and Bob Kohorst, of Pasadena, California, have modeled the importance of generosity in raising their sons.  Kevin, 26, works in operations management for a large security guard company, and Matt, 23, is a fifth-year senior on a baseball scholarship at the University of Kansas.

Indeed, Give back to the community with time and money is enshrined in the family’s list of six priorities that guide their lives.

Shelly Allen and Bob Kohorst with (at right) son Mattt and (left) son Kevin and his wife, Kate, at the Law School's Capstone Ceremony in 2010.



Back when the couple took the risk of starting their own business, they gave time, because that was what they had. Shelley was an active school volunteer, including room mother and parent board member; she also coached soccer and helped out in Little League. Bob was the Little League, basketball, and soccer coach. They learned about giving back from their parents, who also gave time for school activities and
youth sports.

When their business, Everest Properties, became a highly successful real estate holdings company, Bob and Shelley could give money as well. After years of donating small amounts to many charitable and civic organizations, they now focus their giving on the areas that interest them most: sports, education, and health care. They particularly like to support the organizations that helped them and their family over the years.

Recently they made an additional gift of $100,000 to the Law School’s building project, bringing their total commitment to the project to $500,000. 

The couple believes in teaching their sons by example. “We don’t sit down and tell them where we’re making our contributions,” says Shelley.  “We’re not in their faces about it. We want them to be part of the process and learn the joy of giving back.”

Four years ago, they created a family foundation that was set up to allow donations to be made on the Internet. Each year, both Kevin and Matt can give $25,000 to the charities of their choice.  So far, it’s been a good learning experience and lets the boys be somewhat independent in their direction.

“Over time, we have confi dence that they will make good choices to help those in need,” says Bob.

Bob and Shelley also continue to give time through board service. Bob is a Regent of
Loyola Marymount University, Kevin’s alma mater, an assignment he views as “a little bit of a placeholder spot” for his son. Recently Kevin was named to the university’s Athletic Director’s Council, on which his father also serves.  Has the message caught on? “They get it,” says Bob. “You think they’re in their own world as they’re growing up, but kids watch everything you do. I’m fully convinced that when it’s time for them to step up for their own charitable interests, they’ll do so very generously, with both time and money.”

Learning to be generous manifests itself in unusual ways. When Matt was in high school, his father recalls, he went out to breakfast with some fellow basketball players. The check arrived, and everyone but Matt wondered, “How much should
we tip?”

“I told them what you said,” Matt told his parents. “Always over-tip the breakfast waitress.”

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