Notre Dame Announces Historic Gift

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Pamela and Kenn Ricci (photo courtesy University of Notre Dame) Pamela and Kenn Ricci (photo courtesy University of Notre Dame)

The University of Notre Dame has announced the largest contribution of its kind in the school's history. Kenn Ricci, a Notre Dame alumnus who also serves on the board of trustees, and his wife, Pamela, have made a $100 million unrestricted commitment to the university.

Notre Dame says the gift is being managed through a Philanthropic Succession Partnership. The commitment will be fulfilled through lifetime gifts from the couple and completed through proceeds from the sale of business assets held by a Ricci family limited partnership.

"I cannot adequately express my gratitude to my friends, Kenn and Pam, for this bold, innovative gift that will impact generations of our students and strengthen the University’s mission as a truly great, truly Catholic university," said Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. "Kenn’s distinguished business career has been characterized by visionary innovation, and we are tremendously fortunate that he brings that visionary leadership to help Notre Dame."

The unrestricted gift will allow the university to provide funding to areas of greatest need at any particular time. Kenn Ricci says the goal of the gift is not just to support Notre Dame, but 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."

Kenn Ricci is a 1978 graduate of Notre Dame. He is the founder and principal of Ohio-based Directional Aviation Capital, a holding company for several private aviation companies he has either founded or acquired, including Flexjet, Flight Options and Nextant Aerospace.

Ricci was elected to the university's Board of Trustees in May 2016. He and his wife have made previous donations to the university, including a$5 million gift for the construction of an outdoor facility to be used by the Band of the Fighting Irish and the university's RecSports programs.

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