Richard Merillat and his wife, Lynette, are both active socially and are noted philanthropists in both Michigan and Florida. They maintain homes in both states which were designed by the late Robert Denning of Denning & Fourcade of New York City and Paris. They have three daughters: Wendy, Collette and Tricia.
Merillat is a long-time Mackinac Center for Public Policy supporter, as were his parents who were awarded the first-ever Champions of Freedom Award at the Center’s 10th anniversary gala. He is also the president of Christian Family Foundation in Naples, Florida.
The Merillat Quarter Horse Farm was widely renonwn with AQHA World Champions at Stud. It was donated to Michigan State University in 1996 when Lynette and Richard made the largest gift-in-kind received by the university and by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This included 80 acres, two premier stallions, 43 quarterhorses, two houses (each in size), a 72-by-200 horse barn, a 72-by-100 breeding barn, an 80-by-200 arena, and storage building. It was sold in 2005 to a private investor and currently operates with no affiliation to the Merillat name.
The Merillats were instrumental in creating the Merillat Scholars Program at Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana. This program provides substantial financial assistance to Huntington College students who are members of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, student leaders of Youth for Christ, or children of Huntington College alumni. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.