Flexjet, Sentient Jet chairman Kenn Ricci named to Town & Country’s Top 50 Philanthropists list

In 2017 Ricci made a $100 million gift to Notre Dame. Other honorees include Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates and George Clooney.

By Doug Gollan, May 11, 2018

In 2017 Ricci made a $100 million gift to Notre Dame. Other honorees include Michael Bloomberg, Bill and Melinda Gates and George Clooney


Kenn Ricci has been named one of Town & Country magazine’s Top 50 Philanthropists. The announcement took place earlier this week during a conference held at the company’s Hearst Tower headquarters in New York. The topic will be the subject of the magazine’s June/July Philanthropy Issue. Ricci is principal at Directional Aviation which controls several aviation companies, including Flexjet, Sentient Jet, Skyjet and Nextant Aerospace. 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. 


In announcing Ricci to its list, the publication lauded Ricci for “upping the ante on university gifts.” It said, “The aviation tycoon gave $100 million to his alma mater, Notre Dame. The gift will be fulfilled through a new structure that pays regular installments and then, at his death, gives control of Ricci’s company…to the school, which can liquidate as it sees fit.”


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, adding, “I hope this recognition will inspire other donors to seek innovative approaches to their philanthropic giving.”


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.


In terms of aviation solutions, Flexjet offers fractional shares, leases and jet cards while Sentient focuses on jet cards and Skyjet sells membership programs with fixed rates and guaranteed availability plus on-demand charter. Earlier this year Living Legends of Aviation renamed its award honoring aviation entrepreneurs for their lifetime achievements to be the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award after the past winner.

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