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Introducing the Rick M. Murak and Joseph A. Panici Fund

Both born and raised in Muskegon County, Rick Murak and Joe Panici met over 20 years ago as volunteers for Summer Celebration. Since then, they’ve spent a lot of time supporting and volunteering for various organizations in the community, including the Michigan Irish Music Festival, Muskegon Art Museum, and Frauenthal Center – where they celebrated their wedding in 2015.

In 2012, Rick and Joe came to the Community Foundation to set up an Estate Plan Distribution Agreement (EPDA). Rick and Joe are the first gay couple to establish a plan together at the Community Foundation, ensuring that their long history of giving back to the community can continue for generations to come.

“We included the Community Foundation in our estate plans as a ‘thank you’ to Muskegon for the opportunities and support the community has provided,” said Rick and Joe. “Our hope is to show our gratitude to the community and assist in extending opportunities and support to others.”

In addition to their EPDA, Rick and Joe started a Build A Fund in 2013, when they realized there was a way to put their future plans in place immediately. Over the years, they’ve grown it into a Donor Advised Fund, building a permanent resource to support their community, while maintaining flexibility over where and how their gifts make a difference in Muskegon County.

When it comes to generosity, Rick and Joe believe it’s important to give of yourself to make the community a better place – whether you’re giving time, skills, knowledge, or whatever else you can. The Rick M. Murak and Joseph A. Panici Fund will support efforts that Rick and Joe believe enrich Muskegon County, going beyond essential needs to focus on the things that make our lives more beautiful: public parks, green space, beaches, and animal welfare.

If you’d like to make a lasting impact in Muskegon County, visit this page to explore ways to get started or talk with Heidi or Pete in our development team for more information: