Aviation Industry Philanthropists Hit New Heights With University Commitment

Tom Burroughes Groupb Editor October 27, 2017

Aviation Industry Philanthropists Hit New Heights With University Commitment

The commitment of the $100 million sum was handled via the structure of a Philanthropic Succession Partnership.

A new frontier has been reached in US philanthropy, a prominent academic institution contends.

The University of Notre Dame has announced what it says is a first-of-its-kind, $100 million unrestricted commitment from Kenn Ricci, an aviation industry luminary who is a Notre Dame alumnus and trustee, and his wife, Pamela.

The commitment is the single largest unrestricted guaranteed gift ever committed to the university. The structure used for the transfer is a Philanthropic Succession Partnership, developed by Ricci, who is the founder of Directional Aviation Capital, a holding company for aviation companies he has founded or acquired. Ricci's involvement in the aviation industry stretches back more than three decades.

The commitment will start to be fulfilled through lifetime gifts by the Riccis and, ultimately, completed with proceeds from the sale of business assets held by a Ricci family limited partnership that owns interests in Directional Aviation Capital, a statement from the organizations involved in this commitment said.

The use of a PSP structure is an example of the different ways philanthropists operate, also highlighting the proliferation of entities used in North America today, such as donor advised funds and private foundations, to name just two.

Upon Ricci’s death, Notre Dame will receive beneficial rights to a limited partnership interest and become the partnership’s successor general partner. The university will hold the controlling interest and have responsibility for valuing, liquidating and distributing the partnership's assets.

“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," Ricci said.

The Ricci has made other gifts to the unversity, such as 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.


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