Charles and Gail MuskavitchA shared passion for giving back.
Charles and Gail Muskavitch Endowment Fund
Placer Community Foundation proudly preserves the legacy of generous donors who leave their estates to charitable causes. One such example is The Charles and Gail Muskavitch Endowment Fund, established in 2012 by a local couple looking to ease the managerial burden of running a private foundation. The Muskavitches have both passed away, but their intent to help the poor lives on today through work supported by their namesake fund.
Gail and Charles Muskavitch were fascinating people who were brought together by shared passions. Born in Texas, Mildred Cornelia Smith was the oldest daughter of seven children raised by a single mother. In the 1930s, Mildred changed her name to Gail Northe when she became a popular radio personality known for her fashion commentary and celebrity interviews.
Over 1700 miles away, in Massachusetts, Charles was born to immigrant parents. His mother was a princess, making him a member of the Russian nobility. Education was important to Charles, and after earning a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, he traveled widely, and became the Director of Research for the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.
It was their work that caused the two to meet: Charles was invited to appear on Gail’s show to discuss art restoration. In 1939, they married in Texas and two years later, moved to a ranch in Auburn. Charles taught art at UC Davis and worked as a conservator for the Edwin Bryant Crocker Gallery in Sacramento. In her later years, Gail created a strong daily spiritual practice of contemplation, edited spiritually themed books and volunteered for an organization dedicated to spreading the message of peace. Throughout their lives, Gail and Charles enjoyed helping others. Remembering her modest roots and seeking to help the poor and needy, Gail started a private foundation with Charles in 1999. Charles passed away in 2001; Gail lived another nine years to the age of 106.
After Gail’s death, Auburn attorney Tim Woodall and his wife Robyn, longtime friends of the Muskavitches, were named as trustees of the foundation. In 2012, Tim and Robyn began exploring ways to simplify its administration and to learn more about local funding opportunities. Their estate planning attorney, Guy Gibson, suggested Placer Community Foundation as an alternative. After meeting with PCF staff, Tim and Robyn converted the private foundation to a Donor Advised Fund at Placer Community Foundation. Tim says, “Veronica and Jessica made the process of conversion simple. We appreciate how PCF keeps us apprised of opportunities and we know that the fund is managed in a fiscally responsible way.” Another benefit is the assurance of a clear succession plan — the intent of the fund, as established by Gail, will be permanently maintained for generations by Placer Community Foundation.
Today, The Charles and Gail Muskavitch Endowment Fund provides an average $55,000 in annual support to the poor, including assistance with job training, housing, and education and supports causes related to world peace. It allows the trustees to fund causes important to Gail’s charitable interests and to preserve the legacy that Charles and Gail began together.