Established in 1935 by Milton Hershey, The M.S. Hershey Foundation was created to provide educational and cultural opportunities for the citizens of Derry Township. In the early years, The M.S. Hershey Foundation concentrated on providing educational opportunities through the former Hershey Junior College, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center — a teaching hospital, and the former Hershey Educational and Cultural Center — an alternative to formal education. The Foundation also helped manage the sports and recreation programs of the Hershey Recreation Center at Cocoa Plaza before turning over operations to Derry Township.
Starting in 1970, the Foundation continued its mission to provide cultural and educational opportunities to the Hershey community by assuming operation of Hershey Theatre.
In the 1980s, the Foundation accepted responsibility for Hershey Gardens and Hershey Museum (now The Hershey Story). The Foundation also helped establish the Hershey Community Archives in 1985 and in 1990 took ownership of ChocolateTown Square community park. Most recently, in January 2009, the Foundation established The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey as a welcome addition to furthering its mission.
Milton S. Hershey established the non-profit M.S. Hershey Foundation for the educational and cultural enrichment of Derry Township residents and visitors. When he set aside 5000 shares of company stock in 1935, he couldn't have possibly envisioned that in the 21st century, the Foundation would support four outstanding sites - The Hershey Story, Hershey Gardens, Hershey Theatre, and Hershey Community Archives. As The M.S. Hershey Foundation has expanded its scope, so has the need for community support.
The M.S. Hershey Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the greatest extent allowed by law and can be directed to any of The M.S. Hershey Foundation divisions.
As a non-profit organization, The M.S. Hershey Foundation operates independently of Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company and the Hershey Trust Company.
The M.S. Hershey Foundation Managers
- Maria Kraus, Chair
- James W. Brown
- M. Diane Koken