Kohlberg graduated from New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York, before going on to earn an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College. He later received degrees from Harvard Business School and Columbia Law School. In 1986, he founded the Philip Evans Scholarship Foundation at Swarthmore.
Kohlberg dabbles in philanthropy through the Kohlberg Foundation. He and his wife raise endangered free-ranged livestock and fish on their farm, and some of the produce goes to his wife's restaurant, The Flying Pig, located in Mount Kisco, NY. With an estimated current net worth of around $1.2 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 645th-richest person in the world.