CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Flexjet LLC, offering travelers access to the world’s most luxurious fleet of private jets, today announced that its chairman, Kenn Ricci, has been named one of Town & Country magazine’s Top 50 Philanthropists in the June/July Philanthropy Issue. The honor comes after Ricci created a groundbreaking giving structure called a Philanthropic Succession Partnership (PSP) to donate $100 million to the University of Notre Dame, the single largest unrestricted, guaranteed gift ever committed to the University.
Ricci and the other honorees were recognized at Town & Country’s fifth annual Philanthropy Summit, held on May 9, 2018 at the Hearst Tower in New York, NY. Ricci was a featured speaker on the summit’s “Conscious Capitalism” panel. He focused on the critical role of trust as it relates to giving and innovative approaches such as his Philanthropic Succession Partnership.
“I’m deeply honored by my inclusion among Town & Country’s Top 50 Philanthropists, men and women who have given back to their communities,” said Ricci, who also is principal of Directional Aviation, which owns Flexjet and other private aviation companies. “I hope this recognition will inspire other donors to seek innovative approaches to their philanthropic giving.”
Past and present honorees of Town & Country magazine’s Top 50 Philanthropists include Michael Bloomberg, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Amal and George Clooney, David Geffen, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson and the Rockefeller Family.
Town & Country Editor in Chief Stellene Volandes said, “The mission of our annual Philanthropy Issue and our Philanthropy Summit is both to prove that there is always an actionable answer to that question and to celebrate the astounding variety of responses that have been offered. This year especially is approached as a shared desire to better the world and to alter it for good.”
The summit was headlined by T&C Philanthropy issue cover stars: Composer, lyricist and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family; supermodel & entrepreneur, Karlie Kloss; and March for Our Lives organizers Emma González, Alex King, D’Angelo McDade and Delany Turr. Panelists, moderators and speakers included Liz Claman, Gayle King, Bradley Cooper, Sean Parker, Wes Moore, Tamron Hall, Chris Hughes, Molly Ringwald and President Bill Clinton.
Additional panel topics at the summit included “Rewriting the History of Violence,” “The Politics of Patronage,” “The Future of Cancer Care” and “How to Make Philanthropy a Family Tradition.” Lunch was prepared by chef and food activist José Andrés. Flexjet was among the event sponsors.
About the Philanthropic Succession Partnership and Ricci Family
In creating the Philanthropic Succession Partnership, Ricci and his wife, Pamela, wanted not only to donate a large sum to the University of Notre Dame but also to address a growing concern: The succession of privately held businesses such as Ricci’s Directional Aviation. The $100 million commitment will begin to be fulfilled through lifetime gifts by the Riccis and completed with proceeds from the sale of business assets held by a Ricci family limited partnership that owns interests in Directional Aviation. The university will receive beneficial rights to a limited partnership interest and have responsibility for the valuation, liquidation and distribution of the partnership’s assets, providing incentive to maximize their value. The unique approach provides a substantial donation to Notre Dame while reducing the burden on Ricci’s heirs to handle his estate.
The Ricci family’s previous gifts to Notre Dame include a $5 million gift to create an outdoor home for the Band of the Fighting Irish and a world-class facility for students participating in RecSports; the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall; the Ricci Band Musical Excellence fund; the President’s Circle; and financial aid, including the Tomasetti Grace and Lynne Grace Brown Scholarship, the Frank and Doris Vas Scholarship and the Charles and Mary Ricci Scholarship.
In 2014, the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation honored Ricci for championing research and treatment of the disease, which affects 30,000 children and adults in the U.S.
Ricci also is an active supporter of aviation-related organizations including the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy and Able Flight at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, which provides people with disabilities, many of them military veterans, the ability to challenge themselves through flight training via a specially equipped Sky Arrow L600 sport plane.
About Kenn Ricci
Kenn Ricci, a 1978 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, was a member of the marching band as an undergraduate and is a current member of the Board of Trustees. He earned his juris doctorate degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he was named distinguished alumnus of the year in 2016, honored for his leadership in the global aviation industry.
Ricci has spent more than 30 years developing innovative services in the aviation industry. He is the principal of Directional Aviation Capital, which operates a family of private aviation companies, including Flexjet, Sentient Jet, Skyjet, Nextant Aerospace, N1 Engines and Constant Aviation.
The author of Management by Trust, which features practical techniques for building employee trust and success, Ricci has been honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is the youngest-ever recipient of the William Ong Memorial Award for meritorious service to the aviation industry, as well as the Harvard Business School’s Dively Award for Entrepreneurship. He has received the “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award” from the Living Legends of Aviation, which renamed the award in his honor in 2018. This award honors people of remarkable accomplishment in aviation including entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record-breakers, astronauts and pilots.
Ricci has been actively involved with the University of Notre Dame for more than 25 years, serving on the Undergraduate Experience Advisory Council and Mendoza College of Business Advisory Council. Ricci is a member of the board at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio and is a member of the national board of the Smithsonian. He belongs to several corporate boards and is the aviation advisor to the Guggenheim Aero Opportunity Fund.
Ricci has three children: Elizabeth, vice president of client services at Corporate Wings; Kennedy, co-founder of Instagram marketing firm AdLove Media and a Notre Dame alumnus; and Austin, a student.
Flexjet first entered the fractional jet ownership market in 1995. Flexjet offers fractional jet ownership and leasing. Flexjet’s fractional aircraft program is the first in the world to be recognized as achieving the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard, is the first and only company to be honored with 19 FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, upholds an ARG/US Platinum Safety Rating and is IS-BAO compliant. Flexjet’s fractional program fields an exclusive array of business aircraft—some of the youngest in the fractional jet industry, with an average age of approximately six years. In 2015, Flexjet introduced Red Label by Flexjet, which features the youngest fleet in the industry, flight crews dedicated to a single aircraft and the LXi Cabin Collection of interiors. To date there are more than 25 different interior designs across its fleet, which includes the Learjet 75LXi, Challenger 350, the Embraer Legacy 450, Global Express, the Gulfstream G450, G500 and G650, and the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jets. In addition, the overall jet collection includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Bombardier Challenger 300. Flexjet is a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies. For more details on innovative programs and flexible offerings, visit www.flexjet.com or follow us on Twitter @Flexjet and on Instagram @FlexjetLLC.