HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
2 Trustees | 3 Letter from David Van Andel | 4 Building the Dream
6 Historic Timeline | 8 Pioneers, Visionaries and Trailblazers
12 Photos | 16 Revolutionizing Science Education
22 A Legacy of Hope: Shifting the Paradigm on Parkinson’s Disease
24 Building Momentum at the Epicenter of Epigenetics
Van Andel Institute Board of Trustees
David Van Andel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute
John Kennedy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Autocam Medical
Mark Meijer, President, Life E.M.S. Ambulance
Van Andel Research Institute Board of Trustees
David Van Andel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute
Tom R. DeMeester, M.D., Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery,
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
James B. Fahner, M.D., Chief of Hematology and Oncology, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Michelle Le Beau, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology; Director,
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center; Director, Cancer Cytogenetics
Laboratory, University of Chicago
George Vande Woude, Ph.D., Distinguished Scientific Fellow, Founding Research Director,
Van Andel Research Institute
Ralph Weichselbaum, M.D., Chairman, Department of Radiation; Head, Ludwig Center for
Metastasis Research, University of Chicago
Max Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine;
Founding Director, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Van Andel Education Institute Board of Trustees
David Van Andel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Van Andel Institute
James E. Bultman, Ed.D., Former President, Hope College
Donald W. Maine, Former President, Davenport University
Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D., President, Aquinas College
Gordon L. Van Harn, Ph.D., Emeritus Provost and Professor of Biology, Calvin College
2 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
LETTER FROM DAVID VAN ANDEL
Twenty years have passed since Van Andel Institute was founded for the betterment of
mankind and the improvement of the human condition through biomedical research and
In the ensuing two decades, we have accomplished much, perhaps more than we even
dared to dream at the beginning. This 20 th anniversary issue of Highlights of Hope provides
a small snapshot of the Institute’s history and accomplishments.
Much of the support that has allowed us to carry out this vital work comes from you, and
for this we owe you profound gratitude. Your generosity has enabled us to recruit giants
in the world of biomedical research, like Dr. George Vande Woude and Dr. Peter Jones, to
come to Grand Rapids and make this city their home.
It has been my privilege to work with an incredible group of people who have provided
direction for the research taking place in the Institute’s labs and in collaborative projects
in laboratories and clinical sites throughout the world. These talented individuals have
created a critical mass of biomedical research in the areas of cancer, neurodegenerative
disease, and most recently, in the growing field of epigenetics.
In addition to our work in biomedical research, we remain committed to science education
that leverages vibrant new technologies and uses these tools in the service of knowledge,
mentorship and discovery. Our devotion and passion for science education comes from
an understanding that the many discoveries of the future will be uncovered by the
students of today.
As I look back, I am gratified by how far we’ve come in these two decades, and I am even
more excited by the future and the impact we can have 20 years from now when we
celebrate Van Andel Institute’s 40 th anniversary.
I recall my father saying early on that to become a world-class research institute would
require building the dream a step at a time—meticulously putting one stone upon another.
I have no doubt that he would be proud of the many stones we have placed on the
foundation of his dream.
Working together, one step at a time, we will continue to build an Institute that serves
humanity and makes powerful, lasting contributions to human health.
DAVID VAN ANDEL
David Van Andel
Chairman and CEO
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 3
Building the Dream—One Step at a Time
Van Andel Institute is located in the
heart of downtown Grand Rapids,
Michigan, at the south end of Belknap
Hill, a historic neighborhood and wellknown
landmark that has long attracted
people to its magnificent views of
the Grand River, its breathtaking
panoramas and its beautiful sunsets.
Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel’s dream
was to transform this area in the city’s
center into a hub for scientific discovery
and human health. His vision was to
build an independent institute that would
embrace novel approaches to biomedical
research and science education, and
develop a network of collaborations
with organizations stretching from West
Michigan to every corner of the world. The
Van Andel family believed the Institute
could serve as a guiding light of hope and
bring about scientific discoveries that
would benefit future generations.
Defining the Mission
The initial stages of the Institute’s formation
were organized by a group of talented
advisors that included Dr. Luis Tomatis,
an esteemed Grand Rapids-based
cardiothoracic surgeon who shared the
Van Andel family’s passion for human
health and community enrichment. He
helped recruit top-tier scientific talent to
form the Institute’s first Board of Scientific
Advisors and appoint Nobel Laureate
Dr. Michael Brown as the board’s
Phase I—Breaking Ground and
Creating a Legacy
Van Andel Institute could have been built
anywhere in the world, and there were
many who suggested other locations closer
to traditional centers of research or major
universities, but Jay Van Andel chose Grand
Rapids because it was his community, the
place that he called home. It was where
his family had roots, and it was the place
where Jay and his wife, Betty, raised their
children. They thought it was important
to give back to the community that had
given them a life of hope and happiness.
Van Andel felt strongly that the Institute
should be built in the heart of Grand
Rapids so that it could serve as a beacon
of innovation and a catalyst for economic
growth and revitalization for the city on the
“When my father first had the idea to create
an independent biomedical research facility
in his hometown, there were many people
who thought it was not feasible or doable
in a city without a built-in support system
for this kind of work,” Van Andel Institute
Chairman and CEO David Van Andel said.
“I really believe it’s a testament to the
founders of this Institute that they were
able to see beyond the ordinary and build
something that transforms the dynamic of
a city and inspires greatness in others.”
In the latter half of the 20 th century, Grand
Rapids was a town shaken by a changing
post-industrial economy, and it was in
many ways a city struggling for a lifeline.
Although it was once a champion of
industrial manufacturing and commerce, in
1996 the city was in need of dreamers, bold
ideas and people who were not afraid to
build a new way forward.
David Van Andel appointed architect
James P. Gray to serve as project manager
for the construction of the Institute and,
together with a team of advisors, Van Andel
and Gray scoured over proposals from
architectural design firms in the
The Institute’s mission was refined with
input from numerous scientific experts
from a wide variety of research centers
in the United States. Their insight helped
create an institute encompassing
innovative biomedical research
and science education, and laid the
groundwork for scientific collaborations
that would have a lasting impact on
JAY VAN ANDEL
BETTY VAN ANDEL
4 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
United States, the United Kingdom,
Germany, South Korea and Japan. In
their search, New York-based, Uruguayan
architect Raphael Viñoly’s work stood above
the rest, and his initial concept for the
Institute captured the imagination of the
Van Andels and their team of advisors.
“There are few places on this planet
that you could do what we’ve done
here, and it happened because of the
community spirit...This community
warmly welcomed this initiative, even if
they were surprised by the scope of the
vision. Twenty years ago, the phrase ‘life
sciences corridor’ was a completely new
concept in this city, but now it’s one
of the most vital sources of economic
growth and development for the region.”
– David Van Andel
Viñoly’s impressive portfolio of awardwinning
designs includes the Tokyo
International Forum and the Kimmel Center
for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.
In his concept, Viñoly used Grand Rapids’
topography and the Grand River as
inspiration to design an iconic building that
is striking in its modernity and respectful
of its surroundings. Viñoly’s design for
the Institute did not look like any other
structure in West Michigan, and its bold
forms and dramatic, sculptural lines
signified that a new day had come for the
city of Grand Rapids.
CONTINUED ON PG 6 >
ARCHITECT RAPHAEL VIÑOLY UNVEILING THE MODEL OF VAI TO DAVID VAN ANDEL
AND DR. LUIS TOMATIS AT THE AMWAY GRAND PLAZA HOTEL IN 1997.
All five members of the first Van Andel Research Institute
Board of Scientific Advisors were esteemed scientists who
were or became Nobel Laureates. They included:
Michael Brown, M.D. – Chairman
Director, Jonsson Center of Molecular Genetics
The University of Texas Southwest Medical Center at Dallas
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1985
Richard Axel, M.D.
Professor of Neurosciences
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2004
Joseph Goldstein, M.D.
Chairman, Department of Molecular Genetics
The University of Texas Southwest Medical Center at Dallas
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1985
Daniel Nathans, M.D.
Professor, Molecular Biology and Genetics
Johns Hopkins University
Senior Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1978
Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1993
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 5
(LEFT TO RIGHT) CASEY WONDERGEM,
GOVERNOR JOHN ENGLER, VAI FOUNDER JAY
VAN ANDEL, PRESIDENT GERALD R. FORD AND
VAI CHAIRMAN AND CEO DAVID VAN ANDEL
CONTINUED FROM PG 5 >
The design for Phase I of the Institute
was architect Raphael Viñoly’s first
research facility, but in the
intervening years he has gone on
to design for Princeton University,
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
and several other notable
The Birth of the Medical Mile
On May 20, 1998, the Van Andel family,
along with the mayor of Grand Rapids,
advisors and friends, broke ground on
the building site and began the process
of making the dream a concrete reality.
This event set off a domino effect of
development and economic growth that
would invigorate the city.
Following the initial phases of the Institute’s
construction, then-Michigan Governor
John Engler signed the Michigan Life
Sciences Corridor legislation, a $1 billion
biotechnology initiative, into law in the
Institute’s lobby. This initiative created a
collaborative web between the Institute,
the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,
Michigan State University in East Lansing
and Wayne State University in Detroit.
Phase I of the Institute initiated the
expansion of the life science industry in
West Michigan and promoted a new
economy based on the pursuit of excellence
in human health. Due in large part to the
Van Andel family’s vision, the district that
houses Van Andel Institute, located along
Michigan Street and adjacent to Belknap
Hill, has come to be known as the “Medical
Mile.” Today, the Medical Mile serves as an
important driver for economic development
and vitality in the region.
“Here at VAI, the world’s greatest
medical detectives will unlock the
secrets of molecular and cell
biology, genetics and other life
sciences. All because of Jay and
Betty Van Andel’s belief and their
willingness to act on that belief.”
– President Gerald R. Ford
Jay and Betty Van Andel found
Van Andel Institute (VAI).
David Van Andel becomes Chairman and CEO.
VAEI hosts first Van Andel Educators
Institute, a national symposium for school
principals and superintendents.
Dr. Luis Tomatis appointed first
President of Van Andel Institute.
Dr. Gordon Van Wylen
appointed first Director of
Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI).
6 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
Two Decades of Sustained Growth on the Medical Mile
Since Van Andel Institute broke ground in 1998, it has
spurred vital economic growth in Grand Rapids and
more than $2 billion worth of research and health care
infrastructure along the city’s Medical Mile, including:
2000: Grand Rapids Community College Calkins Science Center
2003: Grand Valley State University Cook-DeVos Center for
2004: Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center
2008: Spectrum Health Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion
2008: Mid Towne Village Women’s Health Center
2009: Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center
2009: Van Andel Institute Phase II
2010: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
2011: Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
2011: The RDV/Christman Michigan Street Development
(TOP) GRAND RAPIDS, BEFORE VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE WAS BUILT;
(BOTTOM) TODAY’S MEDICAL MILE.
Opening in late 2017: Michigan State University's
Grand Rapids Research Center
Respected cancer scientist and National Cancer Institute Administrator
Dr. George Vande Woude, joins as Research Director of Van Andel Research
Institute (VARI). Research begins in temporary laboratory space at Butterworth
Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Groundbreaking ceremony for VAI’s facilities
in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.
VAI helps to establish Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile—a
health sciences and medical corridor that serves as a source
for innovative biomedical research, cutting-edge clinical
care and economic growth in West Michigan.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 7
PIONEERS, VISIONARIES AND TRAILBLAZERS
When Van Andel Research Institute’s
(VARI) Founding Research Director
Dr. George Vande Woude first came
to Grand Rapids to discuss leading
the Institute's research program, the
building was still under construction.
He was one of a handful of scientists
who vied for the opportunity to create
something revolutionary in a midsized
city in Michigan. Building a research
institute without support from existing
institutions or a university was something
that was almost unheard of in the world
of biomedical research, but Vande Woude
had developed a reputation as a scientist
who forged his own path.
Vande Woude met with representatives
from the Institute including the Institute’s
first president, Dr. Luis Tomatis. Tomatis
led early efforts to recruit scientists
and advisors, and scout a research
director who would be able to shape the
Institute’s strategic vision and embrace the
uncertainty of a new endeavor. Tomatis’
passion for his work and enthusiasm for
the Institute fostered important early
relationships with scientific pioneers,
visionary thinkers and trailblazers in
the field of biomedical research.
Together, We Will Make History
Vande Woude doesn’t think of himself
as a pioneer, but his contributions to
cancer research are undeniably impressive.
A towering figure in the world of genomic
cancer research, Vande Woude spent
eight years at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Plum Island Animal Disease
Center and then served as director
of the Basic Research Program at the
National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Frederick
Cancer Research and Development
Center, and as director for the Division
of Basic Sciences.
During his 40-year tenure at the NCI,
Vande Woude explored the exciting
world of genomic cancer research
in order to better understand what
causes cancer at the molecular level.
His impressive list of achievements
includes discovering the human MET
oncogene and proto-oncogene. These
discoveries revolutionized how cancer
was viewed and led to the development
of novel targeted cancer therapies.
Vande Woude made a point to recruit
bright, young people who were doing
adventurous work in basic and
translational cancer research. One
of these young scientists was
Dr. Bart Williams, now director of VARI’s
Center for Cancer and Cell Biology.
“It was an incredible opportunity to build
something with one of the pioneers in
cancer research and design a biomedical
research program from scratch,” Williams
said. “The experience was very 'handson'
– building something incredible where
nothing had previously existed. In that
process, there was a lot of energy
Under David Van Andel's leadership,
Vande Woude guided these young
scientists and stimulated a dynamic
workplace that sparked a chain reaction of
Phase I of VAI's construction is completed.
VARI holds its first scientific symposium.
VAI creates signature special event Hope on the Hill
to recognize donors and their charitable gifts to the
Scientific seminar series established, later
renamed in memory of Dr. Han-Mo Koo,
a VARI scientist who died of cancer in 2004.
Dr. Gordon Van Harn
appointed Director of VAEI.
8 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
VAN ANDEL RESEARCH INSTITUTE’S
FOUNDING RESEARCH DIRECTOR
DR. GEORGE VANDE WOUDE.
growth and collaboration within
the Institute. A natural leader and
passionate mentor, Vande Woude created
an environment that was both supportive
“George is a very detailed, hands-on kind
of person, and his management style
was important in creating the Institute
and laying its solid scientific foundations,”
Williams said. “He was instrumental in
getting other scientists to think about
coming here, doing cutting-edge research,
and building a research institute in
Joined by his wife and lifelong supporter
Dot, Vande Woude brought scientists from
around the country to a city tucked away
in West Michigan, helping to shape the
Institute’s destiny for the next two decades.
A mentor’s mentor, Vande Woude’s
exuberant love of science and passion
for the continuum of discovery remain
cornerstones of the Institute’s approach
to biomedical research and science
education. His ability to nurture the
careers of top-tier scientists provided a
bedrock for the Institute’s initial research
CONTINUED ON PG 10 >
VARI hosts first undergraduate interns in its laboratories.
2004 sees the passing of Van Andel Institute
Founders Jay and Betty Van Andel.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 9
CONTINUED FROM PG 9 >
programs and provided the necessary
momentum for growth and success.
“If you love people and have the ability
to help them do great things, then you’re
really living the dream,” Vande Woude said.
On the day Vande Woude signed his
contract, Institute Founder Jay Van Andel
held Vande Woude’s arm and said,
“Together, we will make history.”
“If you love people and have
the ability to help them do
great things, then you’re really
living the dream.”
- Dr. George Vande Woude
(LEFT TO RIGHT) DR. BART WILLIAMS,
DR. CRAIG WEBB AND DR. ART ALBERTS AT
THE PHASE I GRAND OPENING.
Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned glass
sculptor, unveils Life, commissioned in
2004 by Jay Van Andel in memory of
Betty Van Andel. The sculpture hangs in
Carol Van Andel introduces the
inaugural Couture for a Cure fashion
event held to benefit VAI.
VAEI begins its inaugural Out-of-School-Time Cohort Program.
Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) founded
and receives charter from the State of Michigan to
confer master’s and Ph.D. degrees.
VAI signs agreement with Michigan
State University to support the
creation of a medical school in
downtown Grand Rapids.
Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg appointed
Dean of Van Andel Institute
10 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
Trailblazing Trustees—Peter Cook and
The Institute began as the dream of the
Van Andel family. Through the support of
other West Michigan community leaders
and philanthropists like Peter Cook and
Ralph Hauenstein, this dream helped
transform the region.
"Because of Peter Cook and Ralph
Hauenstein's careful guidance, Van Andel
Institute has grown not only in size but in
stature in the scientific community, and
served as a catalyst for the transformation
of a community, a region and an economy,"
David Van Andel said.
Both men shared a unique vision for their
city and understood that the Institute
would shift the economic trajectory of
Grand Rapids and be a force for change.
Their wisdom, business experience and
community connections helped guide the
Institute in its beginning and provided a
sturdy philanthropic course for the future.
After years of service, the two men were
awarded emeritus status on Van Andel
Institute’s Board of Trustees in 2008,
and they continued to serve with distinction
throughout their lives. Cook passed away in
2010 and Hauenstein in 2016, but both men
left behind impressive legacies that live on in
the Institute’s mission and the thriving city they
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE’S
FIRST TRUSTEES, PETER COOK
AND RALPH HAUENSTEIN.
VAEI launches Science on Saturday program.
VAEI hosts first West Michigan Regional
Undergraduate Science Research Conference
for students and professors.
First students enter Van Andel Institute Graduate School.
Groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II building expansion.
VARI and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) establish the VARI/SIMM
Center for Drug Discovery in Shanghai, China.
Child authors of the book
Kid’s Cancer Stories visit with
more than 100 VAI employees
for a book signing.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 11
(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) COUTURE FOR A CURE 10 TH
ANNIVERSARY; CAROL VAN ANDEL AND SARAH ROLLMAN WITH THE
FIRST ANGEL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD RECIPIENTS, CHRISTINE BOELKINS
AND VICKY LUDEMA; FOUR FOREST HILLS CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS RAISED $100,000 OVER FOUR YEARS AND DONATED THE
FUNDS TO VAI IN 2013; CAROL VAN ANDEL SPEAKS AT THE 2016 ART OF
FASHION AND RESEARCH EVENT; MARANDA ADDRESSES THE CROWD
AT THE 2015 CONVERSATION ABOUT DEPRESSION
HOSTED BY CAROL VAN ANDEL.
12 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
(STARTING AT THE TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT) THE FORTE TENORS
PERFORM AT THE 15 TH ANNUAL HOPE ON THE HILL GALA;
DAVID VAN ANDEL BLOWS OUT THE CANDLES DURING HIS
BIRTHDAY AND VAI'S 5 TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION; JBOARD
CO-CHAIR RACHEL MRAZ SPEAKS AT THE 2012 AROUND THE
WORLD EVENT; RALPH HAUENSTEIN DANCES AT THE HOPE ON
THE HILL GALA IN 2010; 2012 PURPLE COMMUNITY HOCKEY
GAME WITH THE GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 13
Van Andel Institute broke ground on its
Phase II expansion April 11, 2007.
Phase II continued the vision of architect
Raphael Viñoly and provided Institute
scientists and operations staff with
beautifully designed lab and office spaces
where they could continue to develop new
and exciting research initiatives into cancer
and neurodegenerative diseases.
On Dec. 8, 2009, Van Andel Institute cut
the ribbon on its eight-story, $178 million,
240,000-square-foot Phase II expansion.
The expanded facility generated both
economic and scientific opportunities by
nearly tripling research space and creating
the potential to support a $125 million
annual research operation.
(TOP) DAVID VAN ANDEL AT THE
PHASE II GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY.
(RIGHT) ARCHITECT RAPHAEL VIÑOLY PRESENTS
DAVID VAN ANDEL WITH THE PHASE II MODEL.
DAVID VAN ANDEL LEAVES A HEARTFELT MESSAGE FOR HIS PARENTS, JAY AND BETTY
VAN ANDEL, ON THE FINAL BEAM AT THE PHASE II TOPPING OFF CEREMONY.
14 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
(TOP) DAVID AND CAROL VAN ANDEL ARE PRESENTED WITH A PAINTING OF THE INSTITUTE AT THE PHASE II GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION;
(LEFT) DAVID VAN ANDEL ADDRESSES THE CROWD AT THE PHASE II RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY; (RIGHT) PHASE II RIBBON CUTTING;
(BOTTOM RIGHT) THE FINAL BEAM IS ADDED TO THE BUILDING AT THE PHASE II TOPPING OFF CEREMONY.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 15
REVOLUTIONIZING SCIENCE EDUCATION
Biomedical research and science
education are the pillars on which
Van Andel Institute is built. After all,
the life-changing scientific breakthroughs
of tomorrow will be discovered by the
students of today.
Van Andel Institute (VAI) Co-Founder
Betty Van Andel was a life-long educator
and a fervent believer in the power of
knowledge to shape lives. In the early
planning stages of the Institute, Van Andel
was intent on including education as an
integral part of the Institute’s mission.
David Van Andel, chairman and CEO of
VAI, views the Education Institute as the
fulfillment of his mother’s dream.
“Her vision was to create an institution
that would shape educational excellence
and thereby inspire hope and enrich lives,”
Van Andel said. “She realized that access
to science education is one of the most
powerful gifts you can give a person and
one of the best investments you can make
in the future.”
In 1996, former President of Hope
College and former Dean of the School of
Engineering at the University of Michigan
Dr. Gordon Van Wylen joined Van Andel
Education Institute’s (VAEI) Board of
Trustees and agreed to help shape the
mission of the Education Institute. A man
of immense scientific knowledge, education
experience and integrity, Van Wylen’s
expertise was instrumental in defining the
early goals of VAEI.
Van Wylen and the Board of Trustees
decided that to have a significant
impact on science education, the
Institute must first address key issues
regarding the needs of students and
teachers. Working with educators
and scientific experts, Van Wylen
organized the first Van Andel Educators
Institute in 1997. This meeting
Phase II of VAI construction completed.
VAI hosts first Origins of Cancer
symposium, which brings together experts
from across the U.S. and U.K.
David and Carol Van Andel rededicate the newly
renovated Crescent Park.
Purple Community, Van Andel Institute’s grassroots
community awareness and fundraising program,
Dr. Jeff Trent appointed VARI President and
16 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
DR. GORDON VAN WYLEN
VAN ANDEL EDUCATORS INSTITUTE, 1997
brought educators and scientists together
to discuss issues in science education and
ways in which the Institute could effect
In 1998, Van Wylen also assisted in
founding the Van Andel Educational
Technology School, which was a technology
focused program for urban elementary
schools in the Grand Rapids Public
These efforts were the first steps toward
designing the Institute’s educational
philosophy, which embraces inquiry-based
learning, proactive teacher training and
Thinking and Acting Like a Scientist
In the years following the founding of VAEI,
influential experts in scientific research
and academia worked diligently to shape
the inquiry-based philosophy of the
Institute’s science education and teacher
The hallmark of VAEI’s inquiry-based
education philosophy is that students learn
science best not just by memorization,
but by actually doing science. Based on
the scientific method of observation,
measurement, experimentation, and
the formulation and testing of results,
VAEI’s methods provide students with a
meaningful, engaging learning experience
and a sound understanding of scientific
principles. Under the guidance of talented
educators like Marcia Bishop, Dr. Gordon
Van Harn and Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg,
VAEI’s programs have grown to include
the Field Experience, High School Journal
Club, Out-of-School-Time Cohort Program,
Science on Saturday and NexGen Inquiry ®
(VAEI’s web-based education platform).
the United Negro
CONTINUED ON PG 18 >
Dr. Patrik Brundin appointed the Jay Van Andel
Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Research and works
to build the Center for Neurodegenerative Science.
VAEI begins High School Journal Club,
creating an inquiry-based science
education program for high school
students in West Michigan.
VAEI expands its professional development resources with QPOE 2
products and Partners in Science program for teachers.
VAI hosts first international Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium
for hundreds of Parkinson’s scientists, clinicians and patient advocates.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 17
It’s All About Inquiry!
Van Andel Education Institute
encourages both students and teachers
to think and act like scientists. Instead
of focusing on memorization, inquiry-based
learning allows students to learn by asking
questions and testing hypotheses. The
Institute’s inquiry-based model centers on
three dimensions: habits of mind, a sociallyand
language-rich environment and the
investigation organizer. QPOE 2
highlights the scientific process of asking
a question, making a prediction, collecting
data through observation, developing an
explanation and ongoing evaluation to
refine and improve the process.
From the Founding Into the Future –
NexGen Inquiry ®
In the late 1990s, when the founders
envisioned an institute that would have the
potential to revolutionize science education
and inspire generations of students, the
internet was a curious new technology.
Today, the Institute harnesses the power of
web-based connectivity in the form of
NexGen Inquiry—a powerful web-based
science education platform that provides an
opportunity for interactive learning in
K–12 classrooms worldwide.
The platform, accessible to anyone with
an internet connection, was designed by
education experts with the goal of
bringing the Institute’s inquiry-based
education philosophy to an unlimited
audience. NexGen Inquiry provides a
solid foundation for the Next Generation
Science Standards (NGSS) and gives
teachers accessible tools to help their
students develop important 21 st century
skills and a life-long love of science.
Jim Nicolette, associate director of
Van Andel Education Institute, believes that
the Institute’s future in science education
is dependent on the ability to scale-up the
inquiry-based science education model
in order to reach more teachers
“The model we’ve worked to develop is truly
golden, and now we have to introduce it to
a larger audience,” Nicolette said.
“Betty Van Andel and the Van Andel family’s
original intent was to change the way
science is taught at the national level. Today
we are really in a place to realize this bold
idea and help educate more students than
CONTINUED FROM PG 17 >
Dr. George Vande Woude and Dr. Peter Jones named as Fellows of the American Association
for Cancer Research Academy.
First students graduate from VAIGS.
VAIGS receives initial accreditation from Higher Learning Commission.
VAI and area partners collaborate to
create a world-class biorepository
following the Program for Biospecimen
Science’s accreditation by the College
of American Pathologists.
Dr. Peter Jones appointed Van Andel Research Institute’s
Chief Scientific Officer. VARI commits to becoming a global
epigenetics research hub.
VAI launches Pathway of Hope, a multifaceted initiative to study
tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
18 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
Dr. Gordon Van Harn –
a Legacy of Learning
Dr. Gordon Van Harn was one of the early
leaders who shaped the destiny of
Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI).
FORMER VAN ANDEL EDUCATION INSTITUTE
DIRECTOR DR. GORDON VAN HARN.
Following a stellar academic career that
included serving for more than 30 years
as a faculty member in Calvin College’s
Biology Department, where he taught
physiology, undertook muscle and
cardiovascular research, and served as
provost and academic dean for the natural
sciences, Van Harn became an active
member of the Institute’s leadership.
Van Harn joined the VAEI Board of Trustees in
2000 and served with distinction as director
of VAEI from 2001 to 2009. Under his
leadership, Van Andel Education Institute
expanded its programs across new
spectrums of learning, including Van Andel
Institute Graduate School, which offers a
doctoral program in cellular and molecular
biology. Van Harn defined the scope of
VAIGS, secured its charter from the State
of Michigan to confer degrees and enlisted
an excellent board of directors to guide its
development. In addition to VAIGS, Van Harn’s
endless passion, creativity and planning
helped found VAEI's Science Academy, which
focuses on K–12 science education.
VAI partners with Spectrum Health’s Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute in an effort to stimulate regenerative medicine for heart
disease. The joint effort was made possible by a significant donation from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
VARI establishes the Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team to foster epigenetics research
collaborations and move promising therapies into clinical trials.
VARI and U.K.-based research charity The Cure Parkinson’s Trust collaborate on the Linked Clinical
Trials initiative. This effort aims to repurpose medications that have already been approved for use,
and significantly reduce the time and cost required to bring new and more effective therapies
Dr. George Vande Woude receives the Fellowship Award in Biological Science from the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 19
Our Students Are Scientists—Van Andel Institute Graduate School
Higher education and biomedical
research have a symbiotic relationship.
It is not unusual for a research institute
to be connected to a place of higher
learning, but Van Andel Institute
Graduate School (VAIGS) represents a
new way of viewing this paradigm.
When the Graduate School was founded
in 2005, its curriculum and structure were
based on the innovation and creativity
taking place in the Institute’s research labs.
Built on the concept of former Van Andel
Education Institute (VAEI) President Gordon
Van Harn, VAIGS was designed to function
in tandem with the Institute’s biomedical
research programs and nurture the next
generation of great scientists.
“To have a research institute within a large
university is not that uncommon,”
Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg, dean of the
Graduate School and director of VAEI from
2009 to 2015, said. “Many universities that
are primarily education institutions will
have a research institute in one area or
another, but here at the Institute we have
flipped that model.”
Instead of research programs being
informed by a university’s structure
and organizational model, the Institute
developed a graduate school informed by
its leading-edge biomedical research.
“One of the unique things about Van Andel
Institute Graduate School is that we don’t
just encourage our students to be effective
scientists, we encourage them also to be
effective biological research leaders who
are able to run their own research groups,
interact effectively within their institution
and collaborate proactively with their
peers,” Triezenberg said.
Solving Real-World Problems
Since VAIGS’ founding, the school has
developed an innovative framework
and curriculum that gives students the
opportunity to spend the majority of their
time working in the Institute’s labs where
they can apply their knowledge toward
solving real-world problems.
“Our graduate students are integral
members of the laboratory,” Triezenberg
said. “They work with the senior scientists,
with the postdocs, with the lab managers
and with the research technicians in order
to design projects, carry out and interpret
experiments, and present their work at
national and international conferences.
They’re fully fledged professional scientists
and regarded as such at the Institute.”
In 2013, the Institute was fully accredited by
the Higher Learning Commission. It currently
has 10 graduates of the Ph.D. and master’s
programs, and 20 new students enrolled.
“We expect the school will grow as the
Research Institute grows," said Triezenberg.
"In the next few years, our graduates will
fill high-level positions in academia and
the private sector, and I think we will start
to see the impact we are having on the
A Continuum of Knowledge
The integration of scientific research
with education, beginning with VAEI, has
rendered some incredible results.
“We know that the future scientific experts
are the curious students of today, and
2015 Purple Community hosts its first annual Purple Community 5K.
VARI scientist Dr. Gerd Pfeifer named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Winterfest, VAI’s signature special event benefiting Parkinson’s disease research, raised $1,000,000 since
its inception in 2005.
Country and pop music star Sheryl Crow performs at the Hope and Denim event in Nashville, Tennessee, to
raise funds for cancer and neurodegenerative disease research at VAI.
Launch of NexGen Inquiry ® , VAEI’s web-based science education platform.
VARI scientists Drs. Peter Jones, Stephen Baylin and Stefan Jovinge play key roles in
discoveries that were hailed as notable advances of 2015 by Nature Medicine.
Research!America's Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award presented to
David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude.
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
visit the Institute.
20 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
sometimes their journey begins in the
Education Institute, which brings grade
school students into a laboratory-style
environment that gives them an idea
of what it means to think and act like a
scientist,” Triezenberg said. “Some of the
first students in the VAEI program are now
college students interning in the Institute’s
laboratories. So, for the first time, we
are seeing students we worked with
from the beginning of their educational
development mature into young scientists
with a passion for research and the desire
to advance human health.”
The Institute’s full spectrum of science
education, from VAEI on through the
research-focused Graduate School, creates
a continuum of knowledge that can carry
a student’s passion for learning into an
undeniably bright and promising future.
Van Andel Research Institute-Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team begins
clinical trials on promising new therapies for cancer.
Terra Tarango appointed VAEI Director and Education Officer.
Dr. Peter Jones elected into the National Academy of Sciences.
Center for Neurodegenerative Science adds new focus on neuroepigenetics.
VARI significantly expands its structural biology capabilities with the establishment of a Cryo-EM Core, a suite of powerful electron
microscopes that can image minuscule molecules that are vital in health and disease. VARI also recruits three exceptional
scientists to augment the Institute’s existing structural biology expertise.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 21
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A LEGACY OF HOPE: SHIFTING THE
PARADIGM ON PARKINSON’S DISEASE
A couple of years after the Institute was
founded, Jay Van Andel’s autobiography,
An Enterprising Life, hit bookshelves
across the nation. In it, he detailed his
hope for the then fledgling biomedical
research and science education institute
he and his wife Betty had founded on a
hill in Grand Rapids. At the core of his
hopeful words was a specific call to find
new ways to treat the two most common
with which he had been recently diagnosed,
and Alzheimer’s, with which Betty had been
diagnosed many years earlier.
As the Institute grew, his words remained
a constant inspiration for the work
ahead. By 2012, it was time. The Institute
had the facilities. It had the resources.
It just needed the right person to lead
the charge against neurodegenerative
Direct from Sweden
In 2011, Institute CEO David Van Andel
found the leader who would shape VARI’s
Center for Neurodegenerative Science.
Dr. Patrik Brundin was renowned in the
world of neuroscience, a pioneering
scientist and clinician who had been part
of truly groundbreaking work in the field
of Parkinson’s research and treatment.
Those first conversations between
Van Andel and Brundin in Grand Rapids
held glimpses of a bright future, but were
also firmly rooted in the memories of their
fathers. Jay Van Andel, David’s father and
the founder of the Institute, had passed
away in 2004 from complications related
to a long battle with Parkinson’s. Brundin’s
father also had fought the disease and
served as the driving inspiration behind
his son’s passion for finding a cure.
“I’m driven by my father’s memory every
day,” Brundin said. “Seven to 10 million
people worldwide have Parkinson’s. That’s
seven to 10 million mothers, fathers,
brothers, sisters and friends. And that’s
seven to 10 million reasons to do this work.”
By the time he left Michigan to return to
Sweden, Brundin was convinced—Grand
Rapids was the place he needed to be.
(PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS, LEFT TO RIGHT) DRS. JEREMY VAN RAAMSDONK, JIYAN MA,
PATRIK BRUNDIN, DARREN MOORE AND LENA BRUNDIN.
A New Mission
When Brundin officially arrived at
the Institute in 2012, he wasted no
time establishing the Center for
Neurodegenerative Science as
well as Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s
Disease, an annual symposium designed
to highlight cutting-edge science and bring
together the scientific, medical and patient
communities. The first symposium was a
small affair but, like the Center itself, was
poised to grow significantly in size
22 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
By early 2016, just a few short years after
its creation, the Center was growing rapidly,
having eight exceptional, established
investigators and rising talent. In much the
same way, the field of Parkinson’s research
also hit an inflection point, one bolstered
by scientific discoveries and a dedicated
community of people with Parkinson’s and
Answering the Call
Two years earlier, a crowd of more than
325 people—scientists, clinicians, students,
people with Parkinson’s and advocates—sat
in awed silence in the Institute’s Tomatis
Auditorium during Grand Challenges. On
stage, Tom Isaacs, co-founder of the U.K.
research charity The Cure Parkinson’s Trust
and one of the community’s most influential
and well-respected voices, gave a powerful
speech outlining the unmet needs of the
Parkinson’s community: more definitive
diagnosis, improved care and therapies that
change the course of the disease.
“We’re constantly learning
something new—the pace is
absolutely astounding,” Brundin
said. “Each discovery is another
step closer to a future in which
Parkinson’s no longer robs people
of their golden years. There’s a
big shift coming—we can
see it on the horizon.”
“Our sense of urgency is intense,” Isaacs
said. “I think the world of Parkinson’s is on
the verge of a seismic shift for the better.”
His speech came at an auspicious
time. For more than 50 years, treating
Parkinson’s looked more or less the
same and had focused on mitigating
symptoms rather than addressing the
actual underlying causes of the disease.
But science has been far from idle during
this time; in fact, it has been booming.
The Right Place, the Right Time
More is known about Parkinson’s now than
THE CURE PARKINSON’S TRUST CO-FOUNDER, TOM ISAACS, ADDRESSES THE
CROWD AT THE 2014 GRAND CHALLENGES IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE SYMPOSIUM.
ever before. Once thought to be strictly a
movement disorder, scientists have learned
that it can include a host of non-motor
symptoms such as depression, loss of
sense of smell and cognitive impairment.
And they’ve learned how it spreads from
cell to cell in the brain, slowly killing neurons
that produce dopamine, a chemical
required for smooth movement.
These findings and other insights into
the underpinnings of Parkinson’s didn’t
happen in a vacuum; rather, they required
a multidisciplinary and collaborative
approach, both of which are at the heart
of the Center’s philosophy. By recruiting
exceptional scientists from across the
spectrum of Parkinson’s research, from
genetics and epigenetics to pathology to
therapeutic development, VARI is building
a critical mass of expertise, ensuring
a scientifically strong and innovative
environment. The benefits of this work are
broad, often spilling over to inform research
on other neurodegenerative diseases such
as Alzheimer’s and multiple system atrophy.
At the same time, VARI scientists reach
beyond Grand Rapids to collaborate with
colleagues around the world, delving
deeper into the mechanisms behind
Parkinson's in an effort to translate their
findings into new ways of definitively
diagnosing the disease, slowing or stopping
progress, and repairing the damage. Their
ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life
for people with Parkinson’s. They’re getting
closer; together with The Cure Parkinson’s
Trust, VARI is finding new uses for existing
drugs approved to treat other diseases
that may also treat Parkinson’s. Some of
these efforts have already made it into the
crucial clinical trial phase, and others are
well on their way.
The Center and its efforts to move therapies
to the clinic continue to grow—plans call for
the recruitment of a neurologist to establish
VARI-supported clinical trials where Jay and
Betty Van Andel’s dream began, in Grand
Rapids. With every step, their vision—the
Institute’s vision—to positively impact
human health is becoming a reality.
“We’re constantly learning something
new—the pace is absolutely astounding,”
Brundin said. “Each discovery is another
step closer to a future in which Parkinson’s
no longer robs people of their golden years.
There’s a big shift coming—we can see it on
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 23
DR. PETER JONES AND DAVID VAN ANDEL ON STAGE
AT DR. JONES' PRESS CONFERENCE IN 2014.
BUILDING MOMENTUM AT THE EPICENTER OF EPIGENETICS
The first time Dr. Peter Jones saw
Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture, Life,
suspended in the Institute's lobby, he
was inspired. In it, he saw something
others did not.
Tucked in amongst the ocean-blue glass
orbs of its six-foot-tall helix were red
spheres reminiscent of the way chemical
marks that help control genes attach to
DNA. It immediately resonated with
Jones, who is a superstar in epigenetics,
a burgeoning field that holds untold
promise for finding new ways to treat
cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases.
Jones took it as a sign—epigenetics was
in the Institute’s DNA. It just needed to
Charting a New Course
In 2014, Jones packed up 37 years of
research and moved from Los Angeles to
Grand Rapids to become the Institute’s
chief scientific officer. He had spent much
of those four decades at the University
of Southern California, where he led the
university’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer
Center and helped revolutionize the
understanding of how our genes work.
A renowned scientist and leader, Jones
could see the potential and the promise,
not only to put Van Andel Research Institute
on the map, but most importantly, to
save lives through innovative research,
strong collaborations and cutting-edge
“It was a rare chance to do something
really special,” Jones said. “Thanks to the
exceptional generosity of the Van Andel
family and the outstanding scientific
foundations built by Dr. George Vande
Woude, the Institute was in a position that
few organizations are lucky enough to
experience. So we set our goals high. When
people say Van Andel Research Institute,
we want them to say epigenetics, and when
people say epigenetics, we want them to
say Van Andel Research Institute."
A Matter of Identity
Every cell in the body has almost the exact
same DNA, yet the cells that comprise us
are vastly different. What causes a brain cell
to be a brain cell? Or a muscle cell to be a
The answer is epigenetics.
Literally meaning “above genetics,”
epigenetics overlays the genetic code and
determines when genes should be switched
“on” or “off,” ultimately affecting cell type
and function. And, like genetics, when
epigenetic processes go awry—when genes
are inappropriately turned off or on—the
result can be disease, such as cancer or
a myriad of other illnesses. Epigenetics is
24 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
(PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS, LEFT TO RIGHT) DRS. SCOTT ROTHBART,
PETER JONES, HUI SHEN, PETER LAIRD, GERD PFEIFER, PIROSKA SZABÓ,
STEFAN JOVINGE AND STEVEN J. TRIEZENBERG.
a growing field that presents an excellent
opportunity for treating some of the biggest
threats to human health.
Jones knew epigenetics was one area where
the Institute could truly become the best of
the best. When he arrived in Grand Rapids,
he set the Institute on an ambitious new
course—to become a world-renowned
hub for epigenetics research and in doing
so, to find new ways to better treat cancer,
Parkinson’s and other diseases.
“Patients don’t have the time to wait and
neither do we,” Jones said. “We have the
opportunity to make a real difference in
There hasn’t been much waiting since
Jones arrived in 2014. The number of
faculty has grown dramatically from 23
to 33 investigators, many with a focus on
epigenetics. Reflecting the rise of Big Data,
VARI has massively upgraded its computing
power and technological capabilities to
support large-scale genomic, epigenomic
and structural studies aimed at unraveling
the molecular underpinnings of health and
“Patients don't have the time to
wait and neither do we. We have the
opportunity to make a real difference
in people's lives.”
- Dr. Peter Jones
CONTINUED ON PG 26 >
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 25
CONTINUED FROM PG 25 >
disease. It is also now home to a
Cryo-EM Core, a suite of high-powered
electron microscopes that can determine
the structure of minute molecules
1/10,000 th the width of a human hair.
Perhaps most exciting, the Institute is
supporting clinical trials across the U.S.
and abroad in the hope of moving new
therapies into clinical practice.
Before new drugs are used in patients
they must run the gauntlet of clinical trials,
which are complex, costly and rigorously
conducted studies designed to ensure a
drug’s efficacy and safety. These trials also
require a tremendous amount of support
and time. Jones and his team knew this
obstacle presented an opportunity to have
an immediate impact.
They also knew that joining forces with some
of the most influential and well-respected
cancer research, medical and philanthropic
organizations in the U.S. and abroad would
strengthen and streamline their efforts.
So, on a fall day in 2014, leading scientists
and clinicians from these organizations,
along with representatives from Stand Up To
Cancer, the American Association for Cancer
Research and industry, met at the Institute
with one goal—to compete against cancer
rather than each other.
One of the results was the Van Andel
Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer
Epigenetics Dream Team, a multiinstitutional
effort to move epigenetic
combination therapies into clinical trials
and, ultimately, to patients. It was built on
Stand Up To Cancer’s paradigm-shifting
Dream Team model, which focuses on
supporting cutting-edge research by
The first trial under the team’s auspices
was launched in 2016 and focused on
a promising combination therapy for
VARI IS HOME TO THREE FELLOWS OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH ACADEMY; DR. PETER JONES, VARI'S CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
AND CO-LEADER OF THE VARI-SU2C EPIGENETICS DREAM TEAM; DR. GEORGE VANDE WOUDE, VARI'S FOUNDING
RESEARCH DIRECTOR; AND DR. STEPHEN BAYLIN, CO-LEADER OF THE VARI-SU2C EPIGENETICS DREAM TEAM.
26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE
AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT DALE CHIHULY'S SCULPTURE, LIFE,
INSTALLED IN THE INSTITUTE'S LOBBY.
metastatic colorectal cancer. Multiple
trials are in the pipeline to investigate
new therapies for other cancers such
as myelodysplastic syndrome and acute
“Collaborations like this are important—
they harness resources and expertise that
go beyond any one organization,” Jones
said. “It’s impossible for one place to have
all of the experts and the best of everything.
By joining forces, we can have an impact
not only here, but globally. We can do so
What started in Grand Rapids is now
moving far beyond the city’s boundaries,
a revolution reflected in the scientific
discoveries shaping tomorrow’s lifechanging
therapies. The Institute has always
“When people say Van Andel Research
Institute, we want them to say
epigenetics, and when people say
epigenetics, we want them to say
Van Andel Research Institute.
- Dr. Peter Jones
been and will continue to be a connector,
a way to bring people and organizations
together in the pursuit of a common goal,
one outlined by Jay and Betty Van Andel in
the earliest days of VAI—improving health
and impacting lives. The ability to weave
together the expertise and resources of
many is more important now than ever
before; scientific fields and new technology
have become increasingly specialized, and
going it alone is no longer an option.
As the Institute has grown so has the city,
especially the Medical Mile that now crowns
Belknap Hill. At the same time, science
and medicine have been in the midst of
unprecedented discoveries, ever refining
the understanding of life’s most intricate
The last 20 years have laid the foundation
for the Institute’s future—one that is
predicated on translating hope into
discovery and discovery into impact.
VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 27
LEAVING A LEGACY
Including Van Andel Institute (VAI) in your estate plans is a great way to make a lasting
impact on biomedical research and science education that will benefit generations to
come. Donors who include VAI in their estate plans are invited to join the Society of Hope
and receive recognition in our annual report.
Here are a few planning strategies that can help you provide for your heirs and leave
A bequest made through your will or trust is one of the most common ways to provide
from your estate for heirs and favorite charities. You can make a bequest of a dollar
amount, specific asset or percentage of your estate.
“Van Andel Institute has some of
the sharpest biomedical research
minds in the country, and they
can’t do their work unless we help
them acquire the tools to perform
this groundbreaking research.”
– Steve Grill, planned giving donor
By completing a simple form, you can designate heirs and charities as the beneficiary of
retirement plans, financial accounts and life insurance policies.
GIVE IT TWICE TRUST
You can set up a special charitable remainder trust that will pay income to your heirs and
then leave the remaining principle to a charity.
333 BOSTWICK AVE NE
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49503
For more information about gift planning, please
contact Patrick Placzkowski at 616.234.5030 or
Teresa Reid at 616.234.5040.