Ron Burkle, Billionaire, Graduated from Yucaipa High School, Yucaipa, California
His high school graduating class must be a dim remembrance to Ron Burkle, however, Yucaipa takes pride in his accomplishments.
Ron Burkle, a 3.5 billionaire, brought attention to Yucaipa, California, by naming his investment firm, The Yucaipa Companies. Founded in 1985, with a concentration on investments, The Yucaipa Companies history evidences high returns for investors and strong political connections with the most famous political leaders of our time.
Bill Clinton remains a great friend and business association of Ron Burkle and often stays at Mr. Burkle’s home in Beverly Hills, California. The two men travel together very often. Ron Burkle has described Bill Clinton as “invaluable,” in business negotiations.
Approaching sixty, Ron has two children with Janet Burkle, Kate Burkle, and Benjamin Burkle. Ron and Janet divorced in 2003.
Ron Burkle was born on Nov. 12, 1952 in Pomona, Calif., the first of two sons born to Joseph and Betty Burkle. Joe moved to San Diego from Oklahoma during World War II and took a job at a Safeway store in San Bernardino where he met and married his wife, Betty. Ron has two siblings.
At age 21, Ron Burkle married an 18-year-old clerk he had met in the store: Janet Steeper, a great-grandniece of the Wright brothers.
As with any wealthy and powerful figure, Ron’s colorful performances in the business world, called attention to him as an acclaimed entrepreneur, with powerful allies in union, political and investment circles.
Profitable acquisitions are the norm for this positive thinking business tycoon. His diverse investments include grocery stores, equity funds, apparel companies, automobile companies, real estate, and the stock market.
In addition to profit making ventures, within a ten-year period, Burkle directly or indirectly contributed $100 million dollars to charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, City of Hope, the antidrug group DARE.
Ron is famous for sponsoring Democratic Party fund raisers. He invested in the Democrats when the Republicans controlled Congress. For example, in 2006, he raised $1 million hosting a dinner for Hillary Clinton.
The Yucaipa Companies
Forbes Article, December, 2006
By Judith Evicci, published September 1, 2010