OC’s Wealthiest 2023: Ron Simon

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RON SIMON
FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN
RSI EQUITY PARTNERS

MONEY: Multiple businesses built, then sold, including cabinetmakers Perma-Bilt Industries and RSI Home Products, as well as homebuilder RSI Communities.

HISTORY: Simon—born during the Great Depression in Los Angeles to a Russian mother and an English cabinetmaking father—turned his father’s business, Perma-Bilt, into the nation’s largest manufacturer of bathroom medicine cabinets. In 1987, Simon sold Perma-Bilt and started RSI Home, which became the largest manufacturer of cultured marble countertops, bathroom vanities, and medicine cabinets in the world.

SALES: RSI Home sold in 2017 for $1.1 billion to Winchester, Va.-based American Woodmark Corp., about half of it is in debt and half in cash and stock. In 2018, RSI Communities sold to William Lyon Homes for $460 million.

THE BOOK: “Business can be a battlefield, and I have decades of stories and the mental scar tissue to prove it,” he wrote in 2021 published memoir, “Tell Me Why I Can’t.”

PHILANTHROPY: The Simon Scholars Program is involved in about 20 local high schools, with 1,300 scholarships and counting, valued at more than $40 million. The Simon STEM Scholarship Program, started in 2015, provides a full scholarship to Chapman University students pursuing a STEM-area degree. Chapman received a $9 million commitment from the Simon Foundation during its annual Chapman Celebrates gala in 2019.

Dancing Days

Chapman University’s Sandi Simon Center for Dance held its grand opening on March 27.
The Simon family provided a $5 million gift to Chapman to transform a historic building near campus into a 28,000-square-foot building for the school’s performing arts program.
Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman, said to the Simons: “Without you, none of this would have been possible. Your generosity through the Simon Scholars program has opened unparalleled opportunities for students at Chapman, and now your vision has enabled us to build this magnificent facility.”
The facility brings “greatly needed instructional and performance space to the Department of Dance, which includes more than 150 student dance majors and 50 dance minors,” according to the school.

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