Burkle's honors and awards include the Los Angeles County, California Boy Scouts Jimmy Stewart “Good Turn” Award, the AIDS Project Los Angeles Commitment to Life Award, and the Los Angeles Urban League Whitney M. Young Award. He has received numerous honors and awards from labor including the AFL-CIO Murray Green Meany Kirkland Community Service Award and The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Man of the Year.
Ron Burkle was born on November 12, 1952, the elder of two sons, to Betty and Joseph Burkle in Pomona, California. Joseph worked seven days a week, managing a Stater Bros. grocery store in Pomona and investing his savings in apartment buildings. To see his Father, Burkle stocked shelves in his father's store with bread and corralled shopping carts.
Burkle owns the Mediterranean styled mansion overlooking the bluffs of Black's Beach on a nearly 6 acre plot in the La Jolla Farms neighborhood of San Diego, California. He currently uses it mostly for entertaining. It was purchased on February 5, 1999 for $15.3 million and the current tax assessment is $34 million.
In 2004, Burkle helped Finance the launch of Al Gore’s Current TV, which was sold in January 2013 to Qatar-based cable-news channel Al Jazeera.
Wild Oats Markets was an operator of natural foods stores and farmers' markets in North America. Burkle started buying Wild Oats stock in February 2005. By the time Whole Foods Market, a natural-foods grocer, agreed to pay $565 million for Wild Oats, Burkle was the largest shareholder of Wild Oats.
In April 2006, Burkle accused New York Post columnist Jared Paul Stern of attempting to extort money from him in exchange for stopping the publication of stories in Page Six, the paper's gossip column, about his private life. He secretly videotaped two private meetings between himself and Stern, with the second meeting orchestrated and monitored by the FBI. Stern allegedly asked Burkle for a $220,000 investment in his clothing Business in exchange for better coverage. Stern was subsequently fired by the Post.
In 2009 Bill Clinton ended his relationship with Yucaipa due to potential conflicts of interest. Following “months” of negotiations, the two were not able to agree on a final payment for Clinton’s advisory services, estimated at up to $20 million, and Clinton “walked away” from the potential payout.
Burkle is a fan of historic architecture. In 2011, he purchased the partially restored Ennis House, a Los Angeles landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Burkle owns Greenacres, an estate built for Harold Lloyd.
In December 2013, Burkle purchased an Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games for $1.4 million and owns william Faulkner's Nobel Prize for Literature.
Burkle’s net worth is estimated at US$ 2 billion as of February 12, 2018. He had been ranked #633 on Forbes' list of “The richest People On The Planet 2014.”
Burkle is founder and chairman of the board of The Ronald W. Burkle Foundation. The Foundation's mission is to “positively influence people around the world and their communities” by supporting programs that “strengthen international understanding, foster worker’s rights, empower underserved communities, nurture the arts and architecture, engage children in learning and advance scientific research.”