First published in the Nov. 4 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Robert Kohorst, a longtime area resident, was honored with the top award at the Boy Scouts Greater Los Angeles Area Council’s Good Character Gala on Nov. 10.
The virtual fundraiser preshow began at 6:30 p.m.; the hour-long gala started at 7 p.m.
“Bob Kohorst has been serving the scouting community for decades and is a respected leader and advocate for children,” said Scout Executive/CEO Jeff Sulzbach of the BSA’s Greater Los Angeles Area Council. “Bob lives Scouting’s values by ‘helping other people at all times’ and through his leadership as an amazing citizen.”
As part of the fundraising push at the Good Character Gala, Kohorst and his wife, Shelley Allen, have established the Kohorst-Allen “Scout Me In” challenge. Gifts made during Wednesday’s fundraiser were matched by the Kohorst-Allen family and helped scouting to expand its service to young people in eastern Los Angeles County over the next three years. The “Scout Me In” challenge is a three-year initiative to establish more than 80 new scout groups and serve an additional 1,500 young people.
“Bob and his wife Shelley continue to lead by example by establishing the Kohorst-Allen ‘Scout Me In’ challenge,” Sulzbach said. “The young people who join scouting will become the leaders of the future, just like Ambassador Kohorst is today. We are grateful for Ambassador Kohorst’s leadership and for his dedication to young people in our community.”
Kohorst, who has lived in Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge and San Marino over the past three decades, is impressed with the impact BSA makes with students. “I got involved with the then-Boy Scouts about 25 years ago and I saw how we helped them mature into responsible, young adults,” he said. “This was especially true in low-income neighborhoods where not all of them had role models. They would become contributing members of society.”
John Johnson, the BSA Greater Los Angeles Council’s board chairman, added that Kohorst “has done a tremendous amount of service for our community and our country. He has been a big backer of youth organizations his entire life, but especially scouting. He is consistently generous.”
As for the “Scout Me In” challenge, where the Kohorst-Allen family will match donations at the Good Character Gala, “We have been lucky,” Kohorst said. “I have a nice family, a nice business, and I like to give back with time and money. We like leveraging our dollars with matching gifts, especially when they can help [underserved] communities.”
Kohorst served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia from 2018-21. Serving as the chief of mission at Embassy Zagreb, he was responsible for a staff of 225 embassy employees and for representing the interests of the United States throughout Croatia. At the conclusion of his term, the president of Croatia, with the concurrence of the prime minister and the minister of Foreign Affairs, presented Kohorst with the Order of Duke Branimir Medal for excellence in promoting international relations.
Prior to his service in Croatia, Kohorst was the founder and CEO of Everest Properties, based in Pasadena. Everest is a large commercial enterprise that purchases and operates multifamily, self-storage, and retail properties throughout the United States, with property values in excess of $500 million. In addition to his expertise in real estate, Kohorst is known for his business acumen, management skills and broad experience in finance.
Following law school, he was a law clerk for Judge Albert Engel, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
He has been recognized for his contributions to public service organizations and education as director and past chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization (San Gabriel Valley Chapter), regent of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and trustee of La Salle High School in Pasadena. He also served as past president of the San Gabriel Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America and has stayed engaged with scouting after merging with the BSA’s Greater Los Angeles Area Council.
Kohorst is married to Shelley Allen and they have two adult sons, both of whom work for Everest Properties. Kohorst’s sons, Kevin and Matt, each attended La Salle, as did their father.