The University of Notre Dame has announced a $100 million commitment from alumnus and trustee Kenn Ricci (’78) and his wife, Pamela.
The single largest unrestricted gift in the university's history is being made through a philanthropic succession partnership, a giving structure developed by Ricci, the founder of Directional Aviation Capital, a holding company for aviation companies he has founded or acquired. The commitment will be fulfilled through a combination of lifetime gifts and proceeds from the sale of business assets held by a Ricci family limited partnership that owns interests in DAC. Upon Ricci's death, Notre Dame will receive beneficial rights to a limited partnership interest and become the partnership's successor general partner, with a controlling interest in and responsibility for the valuation, liquidation, and distribution of its assets. The proceeds will fulfill any outstanding portion of the Riccis' $100 million commitment, while any amount in excess of $100 million will be returned to Ricci's heirs.
The Ricci family's previous gifts to Notre Dame include $5 million in 2016 to create an outdoor home for the Band of the Fighting Irish and a facility for students participating in RecSports; the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall; the Ricci Band Musical Excellence fund; the President's Circle; and financial aid. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in accountancy from the Catholic university, where he was a member of the marching band, Ricci earned a JD from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and has spent more than thirty years developing innovative services for the aviation industry.
"The philanthropic succession partnership model addressed succession and wealth transfer issues faced by the owners of many privately held businesses and their families while also allowing the university to benefit to the maximum extent possible," said Ricci. "Our goal was not only to support the university's mission but also to inspire more strategic philanthropic engagement between donors and nonprofit recipients, raise awareness of the value of unrestricted giving, and encourage increased donations of unrestricted gifts regardless of the vehicle....It relies on transparency, accountability, and shared interest in maximizing the value of business assets, while ensuring objective, independent oversight of the disposition of those assets for a smooth transition of business operations and family wealth."