Net Worth: $780 million
Source of Wealth: Aircraft leasing
Residence: Beverly Hills
While Leslie Gonda made his fortune by co-founding International Lease Finance Corp., the world’s largest lessor of commercial jets, his notoriety as of late has been centered elsewhere: philanthropy.
In Fortune’s annual list of the 40 most generous Americans, Gonda ranked No. 11, behind Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Michael Eisner, but ahead of Gordon Marshall, Michael Ovitz and Gerald Ford.
Gonda gave $45 million last year to the Mayo Clinic, and another $7 million to a group of organizations that included the City of Hope, UCLA and the Museum of Tolerance. In total, Gonda has given more than $150 million.
Gonda made his fortune through Century City-based International Lease Finance, which he formed in 1973 with his son, Louis Gonda, and his son’s friend, Steven Ferencz Udvar-Hazy. Each of the three pitched in $50,000. The company went public in 1983, and was acquired by American International Group Inc. in 1990.
Louis Gonda is no longer involved with the company on a day-to-day basis, but the 78-year-old Leslie Gonda remains its chairman.
“He’s still here everyday,” said Udvar-Hazy, the company’s president and chief executive. “He’s still very much active in the company.”