In 2016, the Kogods signed the Giving Pledge, but that decision simply formalized what they had been doing for years as one of Washington’s most prominent philanthropic couples. Kogod is former co-chairman and co-chief executive of Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty and Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Inc., one of the largest estate developers in the Washington area. The Kogods are active supporters of education, health care and the fine arts, and collectors of 20th century American art. The distinctive, glass-covered courtyard created by the prominent British architect Norman Foster that connects the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery was made possible by a $25 million contribution from the Kogods and bears their name. Robert Kogod was a member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution until 2017. The schools they have supported range from the exclusive Sidwell Friends to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (named after Arlene’s father). Over the years, they have also contributed more than $1 million to the SEED Foundation, which offers higher education to students who would not otherwise have had access to it. There are actually two Kogod theaters, one at the University of Maryland, and the Kogod Cradle, an experimental space for new plays at Arena Stage.
Philanthropic 50: Robert and Arlene Kogod