About Robert P. Kogod

Photo of Robert P. Kogod

Robert P. Kogod

Recipient of the inaugural Community Builder Award

Nn Thursday, September 30th, join us at Federation’s Cornerstone as we celebrate the pivotal role of the Jewish real estate community in Greater Washington, and to honor Mr. Kogod.

Robert Kogod is a native Washingtonian. He is a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School and the American University in Washington, DC (B.S. 1962).  He began his career in development, construction, leasing, and management in the 1950s as an employee of Dan Pollin.  He then became a homebuilder with a business partner building more than a hundred homes in the Washington area.

Mr. Kogod married Arlene Smith in 1956 and in 1959 joined Charles E. Smith and Robert H. Smith at the Charles E. Smith Companies, at that time an office of eleven persons.  Charles E. Smith, the family’s mentor in building and philanthropy, retired in 1967.  Together with his brother-in-law, Robert H. Smith, the two Bobs grew the business to several thousand employees and into one of the largest commercial, residential, and mixed-use landlords in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

The Companies transformed many communities, perhaps most notably Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  The area across the Potomac River just minutes south of Washington, DC was once replete with junkyards and abandoned industrial sites.  In 1962, with his brother-in-law’s vision to purchase a 20-acre tract of land and start with two residential buildings, they transformed the area into one of the most popular commercial and residential sites in the region.  Crystal City became home to 16,000 residents and a hub for 60,000 employees commuting to offices such as the Department of Labor, The Environmental Protection Agency, and satellite offices of the Pentagon and Department of the Defense.

In 2001, the Charles E. Smith Companies merged with Archstone-Smith to become the third-largest apartment real estate investment trust, and with Vornado Realty Trust, a preeminent office building public company.  In 2016, Vornado/Charles E. Smith merged with The JBG Companies to become JBG Smith.  In late 2018, Amazon selected Crystal City as the site of its second national headquarters, HQ2.  The neighborhood joins an expanded area renamed “National Landing” which is expected to add over 50,000 Amazon employees, residents, and other workers with additional economic expansion, including new university campuses.

Bob lives out the idea of community enrichment and transformation in his personal life as well.  Philanthropy is one of his core missions.  “What people do for the public good,” Mr. Kogod says, “enables others’ success.”  The Kogods have contributed profoundly to the nation, our capital city, and community.  He and his wife focus their support on art and cultural institutions, healthcare, medical research, and education.

Many notable community spaces and programs feature the Kogods names:  American University Kogod School of Business, Mayo Clinic Kogod Center on Aging, Arena Stage Kogod Cradle for American Theatre, Smithsonian Institution’s Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Clinic Kogod Investigative Research Labs and Department of Psychiatry Professorship in Mood Disorders, Sidwell Friends School Kogod Center for the Arts, Signature Theatre Kogod Lobby and ARK Theatre, Studio Theatre Kogod Lobby and Kogod House, Atlas Theatre Kogod Lobby, and the University of Maryland Clarice R. Smith Performing Arts Center’s Kogod Theatre.

In 2016, the Kogods joined the Giving Pledge in which they have committed the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Mr. Kogod has also served as an advisor and worked with architects on many additional projects, including: The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Institution Master Plan, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, The Israel Chancery, Jewish Social Services Agency, Charles E. Smith Life Communities and Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Capital Camps, American Enterprise Institute, and the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Mr. Kogod has served on many non-profit boards, including the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, American University, Shalom Hartman Institute, Children’s Hospital National Medical Center, Economic Club, Federal City Council, Progressive Policy Institute, Sidwell Friends School, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, District of Columbia College Access Program, Hillel International, and the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve.

Along with success in business and the joy of philanthropy, Mr. Kogod and his wife pursue a life-enriching passion for art collecting.  This in turn, naturally finds them again as supporters of our national cultural institutions and stewards of some of the most significant artworks.

Through thoughtfully designed developments, Mr. Kogod has reimagined underutilized spaces into ones that increase opportunities and grow communities.  Through his remarkable philanthropic work, he has elevated the importance of art, design, architecture, historic preservation, sustainability, connection, and learning in our communities.