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2021 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

The 2021 Spring/Summer edition of Van Andel Institute's Highlights of Hope donor publication.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF

HOPE

SPRING/SUMMER ’21 ISSUE

2 VAI Charts an Ambitious Path Forward 3 Parkinson’s Research Updates

4 Meet the Scientist Behind the Science 5 Cancer Research Updates

6 GCPD Goes Virtual 7 Understanding How Brain Cells Maintain Balance

8 Graduate School Student Spotlight 9 Graduate School Updates

10 Afterschool Cohort Goes Virtual 11 Education Updates

12 Student Ambassador Program Adapts & Thrives

14 Virtual Leadership Conferences Offer On-demand Science, Fun

16 Events 24 Event Sponsors 26 Donor Spotlight: The Bassetts

28 Scored Grant Program Updates 29 Memorials & Tributes


RESEARCH

VAI charts an ambitious

path forward

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, Van Andel Institute is looking

toward brighter years to come.

Center — that serve as hubs for translating groundbreaking

discoveries into clinical trials.

Despite the challenges, this past fall the Institute finished outlining

its new strategic vision for the next five years. This plan, called

Research 4.0, lays out a bold vision for the future of the Institute’s

research and builds on the strong foundations and success of the

past — all made possible in part thanks to our donors and their

steadfast dedication to our mission.

Importantly, the plan affirms our focus on basic research discovery

in epigenetics, neurodegenerative science, cell biology, structural

biology and metabolism. It also renews our commitment to cancer

and Parkinson’s through the establishment of two new Focal

Centers — the VAI Cancer Center and the VAI Parkinson’s Disease

In addition, Research 4.0 kick-started an ambitious campaign to

recruit new scientists to the Institute in order to grow our scientific

capacity and broaden our impact.

“Impacting human health through groundbreaking research is

at the heart of VAI’s mission,” said Dr. Peter A. Jones, VAI’s chief

scientific officer. “Research 4.0 sets the stage for the Institute’s

future and is an important reminder of how far we’ve come,

particularly as we gear up to celebrate VAI’s 25th anniversary. There

are great things on the horizon and, together, we can make the

world a better place.”

Teaming up against Parkinson’s

In 2020, VAI and Cure Parkinson’s (formerly The Cure Parkinson’s Trust) welcomed a new partner — the John Black Charitable

Foundation — to our collaborative endeavor to find life-changing treatments for Parkinson’s.

Together, we are thrilled to collaborate on the International Linked Clinical Trials initiative, which supports clinical trials that repurpose

medications developed to treat other diseases and have shown potential to slow or stop Parkinson’s progression — something no existing

treatment can do. The strategic partnership is now worth $6.75 million.

2 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Making progress against Parkinson’s

When it comes to studying Parkinson’s, VAI scientists take a

comprehensive approach, from sleuthing out links between the

gut, the immune system and the brain to parsing vast swaths

of genetic information in search of clues. While our scientists’

research may be complex, their goal is simple — to find ways to

prevent the disease, to slow or stop progression and to give hope

to people around the world.

Scientists have a gut feeling about Parkinson’s

VAI scientists who study Parkinson’s are looking in a surprising

place for answers: the gut.

While the gut and the brain may seem wildly different at first, a

more in-depth look shows that their relationship is much closer

than one would expect. In fact, they share so many connections

that the gut is widely considered to be the body’s “second brain.”

It makes sense, then, that science is increasingly pointing to the

gut for insights into Parkinson’s. For example, earlier this year,

VAI scientists and their colleagues found that abnormal shifts

in the vast population of helpful microbes in the gut may tilt the

production of digestive acids toward more toxic forms.

Importantly, these shifts were seen only in people with Parkinson’s

and not in people without the disease, a key difference suggesting

that these acids could provide a new way to diagnose Parkinson’s

early and track its progression. The insights may even lead to new

opportunities for developing treatments that impede Parkinson’srelated

changes in the gut, and possibly for slowing or stopping

disease onset and progression.

The research was led by the late Dr. Viviane Labrie of VAI and

collaborators Beaumont Health, Michigan State University College of

Human Medicine and Oregon Health & Science University. 1

Connecting the dots between Parkinson’s and age

Aging is one of the biggest risk factors in Parkinson’s, a connection

that has been known for a long time. Yet the answer to one

seemingly small but complex question remains unclear: Why?

Now, scientists from VAI and the University of Minnesota Medical

School are collaborating to root out clues, with the goal of one day

developing new ways to promote healthy aging.

Together, VAI’s Dr. Darren Moore and Dr. José Brás and University

of Minnesota’s Dr. Michael Lee and Dr. Laura Niedernhofer seek

to uncover the precise reasons why age increases the risk for

developing Parkinson’s.

Their innovative project is supported by a $6.2 million, three-year

grant from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative, an

international collaborative research effort partnering with

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to

implement its funding.

1

Research reported in this publication was supported by Van Andel Institute and the Farmer Family Foundation (P. Brundin,

with L. Brundin, Pospisilik and Labrie as co-investigators). Labrie also held awards from the Department of Defense, National

Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health and Michigan State University through

the Gibby & Friends vs. Parky Parkinson’s Disease Research Award. Graham holds awards from the National Institute of

Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes

of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 3


RESEARCH

Meet the scientist behind

the science:

Dr. Michael Henderson

Q:

MH:

In August, VAI welcomed Assistant

Professor Dr. Michael Henderson,

an expert in Parkinson’s disease

and dementia with Lewy bodies,

a type of progressive dementia.

For Henderson, studying the brain

and unraveling its mysteries is a

final frontier of sorts, one that holds

immense potential for treating these

diseases.

How would you describe your

research to someone without a

scientific background?

Maintaining a healthy brain is

somewhat like maintaining a house.

The original structure of the house

is like your genes. The house may

have a critical weakness (or gene

mutation) that won’t matter for

years. But eventually, as the house

weathers storms and floods and sun

and wind, the house wears down.

That weakness becomes more

important. The brain has a strong,

redundant structure to protect it

from most damage, but over time,

these protections weaken and can

be worsened by gene mutations.

My research tries to find these

Q:

MH:

Q:

MH:

weakened areas and identify a way

to reinforce them so the brain can

continue to function healthily into

old age.

What made you decide to come

to VAI?

Critical mass. Science is difficult,

and a diversity of perspectives and

technical expertise focused on

similar goals is needed to move the

field forward. VAI has assembled a

team of world-renowned experts

in neurodegenerative diseases.

As an early career researcher, this

critical mass of neurodegeneration

researchers is especially important

to help move my own research

program forward.

Where do you think research and

treatment for Parkinson’s and

dementia with Lewy bodies will be

in 10 years?

Researchers have developed a wide

variety of therapies for Parkinson’s

and dementia with Lewy bodies

over the past decade. It is a very

exciting time for therapy because

many of these treatments are entering

Phase II and III clinical trials. This

means that, within a few years, we will

learn if these therapies can change

the course of disease. We are also

getting more sophisticated about how

we measure disease progression. In

10 years, we will be closer than ever

to disease-modifying treatments.

Neurodegenerative diseases are

complex and likely start decades

before symptoms, so therapies may

need to be started very early, or may

only treat a subset of patients. That is

why pursuing multiple research and

treatment strategies is so critical.

Learn more about Dr. Henderson and his

research at hendersonlab.vai.org.

“VAI has assembled a team of world experts in neurodegenerative

diseases. As an early career researcher, this critical mass of

neurodegeneration researchers is especially important to help move

my own research program forward.”

— Dr. Michael Henderson

4 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Making strides in cancer in

Grand Rapids and beyond

VAI scientists and collaborators tackle cancer from all angles, from studying its molecular

underpinnings to supporting clinical trials designed to find new treatments.

Seeking a new test to diagnose pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a difficult foe and a master of evasion. By the time it is

diagnosed, it frequently is far advanced, which limits options and complicates

treatment. Adding to the challenge, some pancreatic cancers don’t respond

to existing medications. The result often is an agonizing decision: pursue

treatment that may or may not work or focus on quality of life.

VAI Professor Dr. Brian Haab wants to change this reality. He and his

colleagues are developing a simple, experimental blood test that

distinguishes pancreatic cancers that respond to treatment from those

that do not. This critical distinction could one day guide therapeutic

decisions and spare patients with resistant cancers from undergoing

unnecessary treatments with challenging side effects.

“Knowing which type of pancreatic cancer a person has is critical to

implementing the right treatment strategy for each patient,” Haab said.

“We hope that our new test, which detects a marker produced by cancer

cells of one subtype and not the other, will one day be a powerful tool to

help physicians and patients make the best decisions possible.”

The experimental test is slated to undergo additional clinical validation. 1

Collaborating on a national initiative against cancer

Biospecimens are the bedrock of scientific research — without them, we

wouldn’t be able to study cancer or develop new treatments and diagnostics.

Last summer, VAI’s Biorepository was awarded a $2.7 million, two-year subcontract

from the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research currently operated by

Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., on behalf of the National Cancer Institute to serve as

the biorepository for the Cancer Moonshot Biobank study, a national initiative to transform

cancer treatment and prevention through accelerated research.

“We are honored to be part of the Cancer Moonshot Biobank study and look forward to doing our part

to support research and improve cancer care,” said Dr. Scott Jewell, director of VAI’s Core Technologies and

Services, which includes the Institute’s Biorepository.

The Cancer Moonshot was launched in 2016 by the Obama Administration. Its strategic aims, determined by a Blue Ribbon Panel of

experts, are designed to answer critical scientific and medical questions while ensuring the samples collected represent the diversity of the

U.S. population. 2

1

Research reported in this publication was supported by Van Andel Institute; the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award no. U01CA152653 (Haab and Brand) and award no. U01CA226158

(Haab); the Lustgarten Foundation (Tuveson); and the German Research Foundation (Plenker). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the granting organizations.

2

The project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under contract no. HHSN261201500003I, Task Order HHSN26100042 through Leidos

Biomedical Research, Inc. under subcontract no. 20X062Q. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names,

commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 5


RESEARCH

Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s

Disease goes virtual in 2020

In September, more than 700 people from around the world joined together for our

Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease scientific symposium and Rallying to the

Challenge meeting for people with Parkinson’s and care partners, co-hosted with

Cure Parkinson’s. For the first time, both events were virtual, enabling record

attendance while participants safely joined in from home.

Together, the events focused on exploring a question that holds importance for

people with Parkinson’s, scientists and VAI donors: When and where does Parkinson’s

start? Speakers highlighted the latest research into the earliest stages and symptoms

of the disease, discussed potential triggers, and brainstormed how understanding its

origins may lead to new therapies.

We also honored three incredible scientists for their contributions to the field and

commitment to the Parkinson’s community.

This year’s events focused

on exploring a question

that holds importance for

people with Parkinson’s,

scientists and VAI donors:

When and where does

Parkinson’s start?

DR. DANIELA BERG

DR. RON POSTUMA

DR. CAROLINE TANNER

VAI presented the Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in

Parkinson’s Disease Research to Dr. Daniela Berg and Dr. Ron Postuma for their

groundbreaking efforts to identify the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and

to translate their findings into new diagnostic criteria. Berg is the chair and director

of the Department of Neurology at Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany.

Postuma is a professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Cure Parkinson’s and VAI presented Dr. Caroline Tanner of University of California,

San Francisco’s Weill Institute for Neurosciences with the 2020 Tom Isaacs Award,

which honors individuals who have had a significant impact on the lives of people

with Parkinson’s and/or involved them in a participatory way in research. Throughout

her inspiring career, Tanner has sought to better understand the causes of

Parkinson’s and to develop better treatments for those with the disease.

Read more at vai.org/2020-gcpd-recap and save the date for the next Grand Challenges

in Parkinson’s Disease, which will be held Oct. 6–7, 2021.

Speakers highlighted the latest

research into the earliest

stages and symptoms of the

disease, discussed potential

triggers, and brainstormed

how understanding its origins

may lead to new therapies.

6 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


COURTESY LÜ LAB

The images taken with VAI’s

state-of-the-art cryo-EM

reveal a wedding bouquet-like

structure, with molecular “gates”

that open and close.

Understanding how

brain cells maintain

balance to keep

us healthy

Imagine standing on the moon and having eyes so powerful that you can

clearly watch a tennis match on Earth. Now imagine that same optical power

packed into a high-tech microscope, and you have cryo-electron microscopy, or

cryo-EM — a groundbreaking technology that helps scientists study the smallest

components of life in exquisite detail. Using the Institute’s state-of-the-art cryo-

EM, VAI scientists Dr. Wei Lü and Dr. Juan Du, in collaboration with Dr. Zhaozhu

Qiu of Johns Hopkins University, captured high-resolution images that help

explain how cells sense and respond to their environment. The images depict

molecular “gates” that open and close, letting chemical messages in and out while

also helping maintain pH balance within brain cells — a critical function that keeps

cells alive and helps prevent stroke and other brain injuries.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 7


RESEARCH

Dr. Guillermo Flores combines

passion for research, clinical work

through dual-degree program

Dr. Guillermo Flores wants the best of both worlds as a physicianscientist.

His ambition is to blend research and clinical experience

to further our understanding of disease and treatment. He’s

tackling this admirable goal by pursuing education on both sides

of the coin, as part of a dual-degree program offered through a

partnership between Van Andel Institute Graduate School and

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

“I want the clinic to inform my benchwork, and my benchwork to

provide the basis for new therapies,” said Flores, whose research

at VAI sought to uncover the causes of pediatric cancers. “An M.D.

degree will let me treat individual patients, while a Ph.D. will help

me serve larger populations.”

Students in this dual-degree program conduct research in VAI labs

while pursuing their Ph.D. and work hands-on with patients and

mentors during their M.D. training. These programs typically span

eight years, with four years of Ph.D. research training flanked on

each side by two years of medical and clinical education.

While in the Graduate School, students experience an innovative,

problem-based learning approach that trains them to conduct

high-caliber, rigorous science and to translate basic biological

findings into clinical applications. They also undergo extensive

professional development in areas such as leadership, ethics,

responsible and effective conduct of research, public speaking,

and grant and technical writing — all skills necessary for

tomorrow’s biomedical research leaders.

Flores completed his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology at VAI

in 2020 and is now working to finish his M.D. at MSU College

of Human Medicine. Residency training in a medical specialty

will likely be the next step in his path to a career as a physicianscientist.

For more information, visit vaigs.vai.org/doctoral-program/physicianscientist/.

DR. GUILLERMO FLORES

8 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Two dual-degree programs:

in partnership with MSU College of Human Medicine

and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D.

School of Medicine.

YEAR ONE

Medical training

YEARS

THREE

TO SIX

Ph.D. training

at VAI

YEAR EIGHT

Medical training

YEAR TWO

Medical training

YEAR

SEVEN

Medical training

A fellowship provides financial

assistance during Graduate

School years, including:

• A stipend for living expenses

• Health, dental, vision and life insurance

• A full waiver of tuition for the degree

• $2,000 per year for travel to scientific conferences

Grad School

makes

milestones in

2020

Preparing for growth, Graduate School moves to new space

VAI Graduate School Dean Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg has big

plans for the future. Among them: doubling the number of

graduate students within the next few years. Applications

already are at record levels, and the Institute is drawing

students from all around the world. This spring, the Graduate

School will move to a dynamic new facility on VAI’s campus that

includes dedicated classroom and study spaces, social areas,

faculty and staff offices, and more.

Virtual celebrations of new students and recent graduates

In a typical year, the Graduate School celebrates its convocation

and commencement ceremonies in the Institute’s Tomatis

Auditorium. This year, to accommodate distancing guidelines

related to the pandemic, the pomp and circumstance were

instead celebrated virtually. Seven new students joined the

Graduate School, while five students completed their degrees.

• New students: Elshaimaa Ali (Alexandria, Egypt), Lauren

Duimstra (Holland, Michigan), Ellen Griggs (Kalamazoo,

Michigan), Lauren Harmon (Caldwell, Idaho), Vanessa

Howland (Aptos, California), Mitch McDonald (Greenville,

Michigan) and Andrea Parham (Portage, Michigan)

• 2020 graduates: Dr. Lindsey Cunningham (Boulder, Colorado),

Dr. Minge Du (Shandong Province, China), Dr. Guillermo Flores

(Holland, Michigan), Dr. Jamie Grit (Byron Center, Michigan)

and Dr. Nicole Vander Schaaf (Three Rivers, Michigan)

Graduate School student earns prestigious award

In September, Graduate School student Maggie Chassé earned

a prestigious early-career award from the National Cancer

Institute of the National Institutes of Health. This marks the

second consecutive year that a VAI Graduate School student

has received the Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition

Award, also known as the F99/K00. Fewer than 24 of these

awards are distributed each year. The award provides up to

two years of financial support for Ph.D. candidates to complete

their dissertation research, and up to four years of support for

postdoctoral training.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 9


EDUCATION

Virtual Afterschool

Cohort brings

hands-on science

investigations to life

Sometimes, a spark is all it takes to ignite a student’s passion for science. Through

engaging experiments and thoughtful pursuit of solutions to some of society’s greatest

challenges, Van Andel Institute for Education’s Afterschool Cohort program lights the way

for young students in their formative years.

With the help of VAI’s world-class educators and scientists, students are immersed in the

scientific process with hands-on investigations that explore topics in biodiversity, human

health and human innovation. They ask questions, investigate problems and discover

answers using scientific tools and resources provided by the Institute.

“We think the program is phenomenal.

All of the activities in the last week were

just so cool. We are so grateful to be a

part of this program.”

— Laura Golub, parent of Cohort student

Upcoming

Afterschool

Cohorts

FALL 2021

Space Engineers

(Grades 4–5)

Blast off to worlds

unknown to explore

space and the

innovations that make

space exploration

possible.

Biomedical Explorers

(Grades 6–7)

Investigate the role

model organisms play

in helping us better

understand human health.

SPRING 2022

“I love that the Cohort program gives students a chance to learn high-level science

concepts in a hands-on, inquiry-based format,” said VAI Chief Education Officer Terra

Tarango. “But what I love even more is seeing students feel like they belong — like they are

part of an important team working on meaningful issues facing our world.”

The program is open to students in grades 4–7. These crucial years shape young minds

and open up worlds of possibility for the future. Afterschool Cohort catalyzes a lifelong

passion for science in students, helping them take those pivotal first steps toward a career

in any number of scientific fields.

Thanks to the generous support of a Van Andel Institute donor, Afterschool Cohort is open

to students at no cost.

To learn more, visit vaei.org.

Ecosystem

Explorers

(Grades 5–6)

Learn how ecosystems

work and why they

matter by designing

your own investigations using

animals and plants.

Energy Innovators

(Grades 6–7)

Explore the

environmental and

economic costs and

benefits of energy

used to move vehicles.

Students also get to

design their own car.

10 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Van Andel Institute for

Education adapts

Teachers and students come first at Van Andel Institute for Education. As a global

pandemic caused seismic shifts in the educational landscape, our team of expert

educators recognized the heightened need for engaging materials to use in a variety of

environments. They quickly pivoted and tailored VAI’s Blue Apple project-based learning

units for in-person, virtual and blended learning environments. Across the country,

teachers used these materials to successfully propel students through overwhelming

challenges. Their spirit and commitment to their students inspire us every day.

Blue Apple Timely

Topics connect to

current events

Free Virtual Blue

Apple Projects

• Prevent the Spread: How can we stop

germs in their tracks?

Students test the effectiveness of

disinfectants on germs and create a

public service announcement to help

fight back against these microbes.

• VacciNation

Students explore the science and

history behind vaccines. Then, they’ll

use what they’ve learned to share

their knowledge with others and to

make a positive difference!

As lesson planning evolved in response to an ever-changing classroom environment,

VAI launched a new program called Timely Topics. This series of 15-minute mini lessons

on topics ranging from civil debate to the changing seasons boosts curiosity, creativity and

critical thinking, and gets students actively involved in meaningful discussions on current

events. Free teacher resources, such as Timely Topics, are made possible through the

generous support of the Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation.

Customized Virtual

Science Experiences

Students excel with engaging, hands-on lessons — something made even more important

and challenging by an uncertain learning environment. VAI gives teachers and parents the

tools to tap into this with fun, hands-on science investigations. The Institute’s Customized

Virtual Science Experiences inspire students to explore and solve problems using scientific

methods, tools and resources. We know that each classroom is unique, and each teacher has

their own style; we work with individual teachers and parents to bring lesson plans to life.

To learn more, visit vaei.vai.org.

STUDENTS AT CROSSROADS CHARTER ACADEMY

& THE SHIPLEY SCHOOL PARTICIPATE IN

PREVENT THE SPREAD

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 11


VAI PURPLE COMMUNITY

Student Ambassador Program

shapes community leaders

of tomorrow

At the start of the academic year, high school students from

across West Michigan came together virtually to learn leadership

skills and impart a lasting impact on research into diseases like

cancer and Parkinson’s.

These bright, young students are part of Van Andel Institute’s

Student Ambassador Program. They meet once a month over the

course of two semesters and hear directly from the Institute’s

world-class scientists, educators and staff about the important

research and education efforts happening at VAI. For the 2020–21

school year, there were 28 Student Ambassadors from 11 schools;

all meetings were hosted virtually.

By meeting with VAI scientists, Student Ambassadors learn about

the important biomedical research happening at the Institute and

gain insight into what it takes to run a research lab. They also hear

from Van Andel Institute for Education instructional specialists

about the latest trends in K–12 education. The students’ ultimate

goal is to apply what they’ve learned to launch a fundraiser, with

(STARTING AT THE BOTTOM LEFT, GOING CLOCKWISE; PHOTOS TAKEN

PRIOR TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC) HOLLY BARKER, ISABELLA HARNISH,

EMILY DEAN, GRACE GEER, CAROL VAN ANDEL, BRIANNA VOLPE,

ABBY MILES, MARGARET BRUEMMER & KENDALL HALUCH; KENDALL

HALUCH; EMILY DEAN

“Our Student Ambassadors pour

their hearts into learning about

our Institute and how they can

support our mission to improve

the health of current and future

generations through research

and education.”

— Carol Van Andel

100% of the proceeds going directly to the Institute’s research and

educational programs.

When meeting with Institute staff, the students explore topics like

how to craft a communications plan to reach the right audiences

for their fundraiser and how to gain fundraising support from

business sponsors. The Student Ambassadors also are mentored

12 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Volunteer

Opportunities

Volunteers are the backbone of Van Andel Institute’s

community support, helping to educate people about our

important research and education programs. They serve

as energetic partners in the fight against devastating

diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s and as advocates

for VAI throughout the West Michigan community.

by the Institute’s biggest advocate: Carol Van Andel,

executive director of The David and Carol Van Andel Family

Foundation and wife of VAI’s Chairman and CEO David Van Andel.

“Our Student Ambassadors pour their hearts into learning about

our Institute and how they can support our mission to improve

the health of current and future generations through research

and education,” Carol Van Andel said. “It is a great honor for me to

mentor and work with these young leaders as they work toward

their fundraising goal.”

As their final fundraising project, the 2020–21 class of Student

Ambassadors elected to host an online silent auction. The virtual

auction, set to be held April 19–30, will be a crowning achievement

for the students after months of hard work and planning. The

Institute is proud to count these students among our dedicated

volunteers who lend their talent to supporting research into the

diseases that impact so many of our loved ones.

To learn more about the Student Ambassador Program, visit

purplecommunity.org.

There are various ways to volunteer with the Institute,

including:

• Volunteer Ambassador

• Event Hand

• Event Lead

• Weekly Volunteer Team

• Group volunteering

Though in-person volunteer opportunities are

temporarily on hold, the Institute is incredibly excited

to bring aboard new volunteers and further develop

relationships in the community. To learn more about

how you can get involved, visit purplecommunity.org or

email purplecommunity@vai.org.

Upcoming opportunities

June 10 —

Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Pizza Party

Last Friday of every month —

Volunteer Virtual Coffee Connection

Stay connected with VAI and hear from researchers

about their latest work!

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 13


VAI PURPLE COMMUNITY

Virtual Leadership Conferences

offer on-demand science, fun

for students

When the pandemic forced in-person events to go virtual, Van Andel Institute’s Student

Leadership Conference rose to the challenge to adapt.

The free program, which invites classrooms to visit the Institute for a day of touring VAI

facilities and conducting fun experiments in our educational labs, could not continue on as

it had. So, the Institute pivoted quickly and introduced a new format.

The Virtual Leadership Conference program is built for the Zoom era and follows a

similar playbook as the Student Leadership Conference. Whereas the Student Leadership

Conference had been held on set days during the school year, the Virtual Leadership

Conference is completely on-demand — when teachers want to schedule a time, VAI is

there to help.

“The pandemic disrupted normal classroom routines across the board, and we wanted to

do something to help,” said McKenzie Hollern, VAI event coordinator. “We are thrilled that

the shift to this format gives teachers the option to schedule a virtual field trip at a time

that works best for them.”

“The pandemic disrupted

normal classroom

routines across the

board, and we wanted to

do something to help.”

— McKenzie Hollern

By adding the at-home experiment

component, the Virtual Leadership

Conference turned what would have

been just another video call into a handson

science lesson that keeps students

curious, engaged and enjoying themselves.

The conference is a great way for students to learn more about the Institute, hear

directly from VAI scientists about their research and — perhaps best of all — enjoy

entertaining science experiments from the comfort of home. With support from a variety

of sources, including donors, VAI provides plans for teachers to help students conduct

the experiments, and instructional specialists from Van Andel Institute for Education walk

participants through the steps during the conferences.

To learn more about the Virtual Leadership

Conferences and to register, visit

purplecommunity.org.

STUDENTS AT ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE PARTICIPATE IN VAI’S VIRTUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

14 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Pure Barre on the

Blue Bridge goes virtual

The 7th annual Pure Barre on the Blue

Bridge was unable to fully take place on

its namesake downtown Grand Rapids

landmark due to the pandemic, but that

didn’t stop dedicated and determined

Van Andel Institute supporters from

meeting up to sweat it out online.

Participants took to Zoom for an evening

of exercise to support the Institute’s

research into diseases like cancer and

Parkinson’s, and our K–12 and graduate

education programs. The event was led

by Pure Barre Grand Rapids’ Kiersten

Kemp, who was on the Blue Bridge to give

participants a chance to take in the views

from the comfort of home.

Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge was sponsored

in 2020 by Pure Barre Grand Rapids,

Lolë, Trusted Rides and Mary Free Bed

Rehabilitation Hospital.

Bee Brave beats pandemic

odds to support VAI

Organizers of the annual Bee Brave

5K overcame obstacles created by

the pandemic to host a fun, safe

event in October. The race, held every

fall at Shagbark Farm in Caledonia,

Michigan, directly benefits Van Andel

Institute’s breast cancer research.

The race raised more than $56,000

for 2020, and this year’s event will be

held Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.

PURE BARRE ON THE BLUE BRIDGE FILMING AHEAD OF TIME IN ORDER TO

SAFELY BRING THE EXPERIENCE RIGHT INTO ATTENDEES’ HOMES

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 15


CONGRATULATIONS

to David & Carol

Van Andel

for their inclusion among the 2020

Grand Rapids Business Journal

Grand Rapids 200 honorees.

EVENTS

Though numerous events

at Van Andel Institute

took on a different,

virtual look in much of

2020, their impact did

not waver. All proceeds

from VAI events

benefit biomedical

research and K–12 and

graduate education at

the Institute, and help

support our mission of

unleashing innovations

that will improve health

and enhance lives for

generations to come.

Read on for more

about the exceptional,

enlightening and even

dazzling events that

brought together our

community of supporters

in Grand Rapids, West

Michigan and beyond in

support and celebration

of our beloved Institute.

CAROL & DAVID VAN ANDEL

16 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Curiosity Hour

The fun-loving spirit and science skills of the Van Andel

Institute for Education team were brought into homes across

West Michigan and beyond during August’s Curiosity Hour.

Held virtually for the first time, the 2020 event featured creative

science demonstrations that attendees could easily follow along

with from the comfort of home — including microwave lightning,

paper bridges, elephant toothpaste and dancing oobleck. The fun

culminated with an edible science experiment featuring a makeyour-own

pizza — ingredients courtesy of Grand Rapids’ own

Amore Trattoria Italiana.

uriosity

A COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE AT

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

Special thanks to the Title Sponsor: Crystal Flash.

(STARTING FROM THE TOP, GOING DOWN) INGREDIENTS FOR A FUN, EDIBLE

EXPERIMENT — PIZZA!; THE HAZLEWOOD KIDS PREP THEIR PIZZAS FOR THE OVEN

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 17


EVENTS

VAI Golf Outing

Golfers, donors and Van Andel Institute supporters of all skill

levels joined together at the beautiful Wuskowhan Players

Club in West Olive, Michigan, for the 13th annual Van Andel

Institute Golf Outing. During the event that has become a

yearly favorite, players enjoyed 18 holes along with light snacks,

beverages and a boxed lunch provided on the course. They

also heard from special guest American football offensive tackle

Jared Veldheer.

Special thanks to the Title Sponsor: The Veldheer, Long, Mackay &

Bernecker Group of Merrill Lynch.

(STARTING FROM THE TOP LEFT, GOING CLOCKWISE) LYNNE JARMAN-JOHNSON; CAROL VAN ANDEL, SUSAN SHAW, BETH VAN PORTFLIET &

MARCIE ROTH; JARED VELDHEER, KYLE VAN ANDEL, DAVID VAN ANDEL & JACK DOLES; GOLFERS WARM UP THEIR SHOTS;

BEN & MOLLY HUNTING WITH TERESA & MARK HUNTING

18 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Virtual Public

Lecture Series

Van Andel Institute held

four virtual public lectures

in the latter half of 2020,

sharing the knowledge of our

scientists and educators with

the community. Presenters

included Dr. José Brás and

Dr. Rita Guerreiro, speaking on

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and

dementia with Lewy bodies;

Dr. Patrik Brundin and

Dr. Darren Moore, speaking on

Parkinson’s; Dr. Heidi Lempradl

and Dr. Andrew Pospisilik,

speaking on metabolism and

its effect on future generations;

and Chief Education Officer

Terra Tarango and a panel

of educators, speaking on

educating through a pandemic.

For information on the 2021

Public Lecture Series, visit

vai.org/events.

(STARTING AT TOP LEFT, GOING CLOCKWISE) DR. JOSÉ BRAS; DR. RITA GUERREIRO; DR. DARREN MOORE; TERRA TARANGO;

DR. ANDREW POSPISILIK; DR. HEIDI LEMPRADL; DR. PATRIK BRUNDIN

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 19


EVENTS

Couture for a Cure

Fashion lovers from near and far turned out in style for the social

(distance) event of the year: the Institute’s 15th annual Couture

for a Cure. The virtual event featured a one-of-a-kind runway

fashion presentation by Leigh’s, live-streamed entertainment and a

toast to Couture’s 15th anniversary, as well as a special appearance

by famed designer Byron Lars and an exclusive look at his Fall 2020

Beauty Mark collection. Attendees also experienced Artistry’s new

products and on-trend looks via the runway.

Special thanks to the Presenting Sponsor: Leigh’s, and the

Title Sponsor: Amway.

20 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


(STARTING AT TOP LEFT, GOING CLOCKWISE) BYRON LARS’ LOOKS FEATURE

CONTOURED SILHOUETTES, INTRICATE SEAMING, EMBROIDERY & COUTURE

DETAILING; A MODEL SHOWS OFF AN URBAN ADVENTURE LOOK FROM

LEIGH’S; GUESTS SAW A VARIETY OF LOOKS FROM LEIGH’S, INCLUDING

ECLECTIC MIX PAIRINGS FEATURING VIVID PRINTS; BYRON LARS JOINS

MARANDA, LEIGH’S OWNER REBECCA WIERDA, CAROL VAN ANDEL &

AMWAY’S CANDACE MATTHEWS VIA ZOOM; A BEHIND-THE-SCENES

LOOK AT FILMING THIS VIRTUAL FASHION EVENT; ATTENDEES VIRTUALLY

ENJOYED EXCLUSIVE LOOKS AT BYRON LARS’ LATEST COLLECTION;

MARANDA, REBECCA WIERDA, CAROL VAN ANDEL & CANDACE MATTHEWS

CELEBRATE COUTURE’S 15TH ANNIVERSARY; PAIRING PRINTS,

LIKE FLORAL & FAUX SNAKESKIN, WAS A TOP TREND OF THE EVENING

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 21


EVENTS

Hope on the Hill Gala —

Star Light, Star Bright

The 20th anniversary of Van Andel Institute’s Hope on the Hill

Gala — Star Light, Star Bright brought shimmering lights and

dazzling sights right into the homes of attendees. This sparkling

virtual event celebrated the stars who, for the past two decades,

have helped make incredible things happen at VAI: our donors,

our community, and the scientists and educators you support. It

included not one, not two, but three virtual performances by the

Detroit Youth Choir, whose powerful appearance on “America’s Got

Talent” propelled its young stars into a well-deserved spotlight.

Special thanks to the Title Sponsor: Fifth Third Private Bank.

(STARTING AT THE TOP LEFT, GOING CLOCKWISE) ROB & SUSAN STAFFORD HOST A VIRTUAL VIEWING PARTY AT HOME;

CAROL & DAVID VAN ANDEL PREPARE TO TOAST TO THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY; PABLO & JENNA PRIETO (FRONT), CHRIS &

ALYSSA NANCE, CHARLIE & TANYA ROWERDINK; THE DETROIT YOUTH CHOIR

22 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


A Conversation About Depression

— Hosted by Carol Van Andel

Van Andel Institute’s signature events have the power to bring

the insights and research of our scientists to our community

and our supporters. Through one of this year’s special events,

A Conversation About Depression — Hosted by Carol Van Andel,

this knowledge could travel even further, thanks to the unique

virtual setting. Experts discussed the biological underpinnings of

depression, considered how a better understanding of the disorder

can be translated into improved diagnostics and treatments,

explored COVID-19’s relationship to inflammation and depression,

and addressed community resources available to those affected.

Speakers included Dr. Lena Brundin (VAI), Dr. Eric Achtyes (Pine

Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Michigan State University

College of Human Medicine and Network180), and Dr. Mark

Eastburg (Pine Rest).

Special thanks to the Conversation Sponsor: Howard Miller, and to

the Title Sponsor: The Veldheer, Long, Mackay & Bernecker Group

of Merrill Lynch.

(STARTING AT THE TOP, GOING DOWN) MARANDA & CAROL VAN ANDEL; SCIENTISTS DR. ERIC ACHTYES (PINE REST), DR. LENA BRUNDIN (VAI) &

DR. MARK EASTBURG (PINE REST) JOIN MARANDA & CAROL VAN ANDEL VIA ZOOM

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 23


EVENTS

Thank you to our generous

event sponsors

To learn more about sponsoring an event, contact Sarah Rollman at sarah.rollman@vai.org.

VAI Golf Outing

Charles Anderson

Bluewater Technologies

Consumers Credit Union

Cornerstone University

Custer Inc.

Erhardt Construction

First National Bank

Gallagher Insurance

Grand Rapids Christian Schools

Ben & Molly Hunting

iHeartMedia

Loomis, Sayles & Company

Macatawa Bank

Making the Turn Against Parkinson’s

McAlvey Merchant & Associates

Merrill Lynch — The Veldheer, Long, Mackay

& Bernecker Group

Metro Health — University of

Michigan Health

Midwest Capital Advisors

Northern Jet Management

Owen-Ames-Kimball

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Priority Health

John & Therese Rowerdink

Secrest Wardle

Sharpe

Tom & Mary Stuit

Summit Point Roofing

U.S. Bank

US Signal

Brian & Lori Vander Baan

Dave & Beth Van Portfliet

West Michigan Woman

Zip Xpress, Inc.

Couture for a Cure

Amway

Belwith Keeler

Scott & Heidi Campbell

Cheeky Strut

Chuck & Christine Boelkins

Consumers Credit Union

Mimi Cummings

Sam & Janene Cummings

CWD Real Estate Investment

David & Carol Van Andel Family Foundation

Brian DeVries & Barbara Pugh

Eileen DeVries Family Foundation

Eurest

First National Bank of Michigan

Gallagher Insurance

Patti Griswold

Jana Hall

Paul & Sheryl Haverkate

Dave & Donna Hockstra

J.C. & Tammy Huizenga

Bill & Starr Humphries

Mike & Sue Jandernoa

Jeffery Roberts Design

McAlvey Merchant & Associates

Deb Meijer

Priority Health

The Steve & Amy Van Andel Foundation

Tom & Brenda Rinks

24 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Sharon Van Dellen

Mike & Gayle VanGessel

Greg & Meg Willit

Zip Xpress, Inc.

Hope on the Hill Gala

Amway

Aon

Paul Becker & Eve Rogus

Betz Industries

BHS Insurance

Dave & Jill Bielema

Chuck & Christine Boelkins

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Buist Electric

Jerry & Suzanne Callahan

Consumers Credit Union

Tom & Tracy Curran

Custer Inc.

Davenport University

The David & Carol Van Andel Family

Foundation

Jeff & Mary Dixon

Eenhoorn LLC

Ellis Parking

Fifth Third Private Bank

Foremost Insurance Group

Gallagher Insurance

Grand Valley State University

Martin & Peggy Greydanus

Jana Hall

Hansen — Balk Steel Treating Co.

Kurt & Madelon Hassberger

Healthbridge

Hope College

Howard Miller

Huizenga Group

ICN Foundation

Mike & Sue Jandernoa

Dr. Peter & Veronica Jones

Craig & Deb Kinney

Kloostra Family Foundation

Al & Robin Koop

Blake & Mary Krueger

John & Katie Kuiper

Ray & Jeannine Lanning

Lighthouse Insurance Group

Gary & Vicky Ludema

McAlvey Merchant & Associates

Mercy Health

Merrill Lynch — The Veldheer, Long,

Mackay & Bernecker Group

Metro Health — University of

Michigan Health

MSU College of Human Medicine

New Holland Brewing Co.

NPF Investment Advisors

Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation

Pioneer Construction

Priority Health

Rockford Construction Company

Rowerdink Inc.

Tony & Dawn Semple

Sharpe

Spectrum Health

Rob & Susan Stafford

Steelcase

Stephen Klotz Family Foundation

The Steve & Amy Van Andel Foundation

Taconic Charitable Foundation

Thomas S. Fox Family

Mike & Michelle VanDyke

Dan & Ann Van Eerden

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Greg & Meg Willit

Wolverine Worldwide

Jim & Jane Zwiers

A Conversation About Depression

Hosted by Carol Van Andel

AHC Hospitality

Gallagher Insurance

Howard Miller

McAlvey Merchant & Associates

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 25


PHILANTHROPY

Donors Michelle and Kevin

Bassett support biomedical

research today, bring hope

for tomorrow

Every donor brings a unique hope, passion

and motivation to supporting Van Andel

Institute’s work. In the case of Michelle

and Kevin Bassett, they began on different

paths, but their end goal has always been

the same: to support an organization that

works tirelessly to give hope and a lasting

impact to future generations.

For Michelle Bassett, director of research

administration at Mary Free Bed

Rehabilitation Hospital, it began when she,

her two children, and her first husband,

Dwight Reed, moved to Grand Rapids in

1999. She was part of a group recruited

from the National Cancer Institute to help

VAI get its early start, and she worked

directly for the Institute’s founding research

director, Dr. George Vande Woude.

“I moved up here because I believed in

Jay Van Andel’s vision, in George Vande

Woude’s work,” said Michelle, who

worked at the Institute until 2012. “VAI

has been such a gift to Grand Rapids

and has stimulated so much growth and

collaboration.”

Just one year after their move to West

Michigan, Dwight was diagnosed with softtissue

sarcoma and passed away only 20

months later.

“Cancer research was my chosen

profession, and it became far more real

and relevant for me both during Dwight’s

illness and after he died,” said Michelle.

In Dwight’s memory, his sister and her

husband, Dawn and Darryl Schumaker,

launched a memorial golf outing. Held

annually for a decade, the event raised

more than $80,000 for VAI’s cancer

research efforts.

Meanwhile, Kevin Bassett, president of

family-owned company Spectrum Industries,

began giving to VAI after his brother, Keith,

was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma

and passed away in December 2013.

“Cancer research already had been near

and dear to us, and then when Keith lost his

battle with renal cell, it became even more

real,” said Kevin.

Kevin and Michelle, who married in 2006,

recognized their shared passion for cancer

research and soon decided to include VAI in

their will.

Their close experiences with disease

unfortunately did not end with Keith and

Dwight. In August 2017, Michelle was

diagnosed with AL cardiac amyloidosis,

which affects the heart’s ability to pump

blood and is related to a cancer called

multiple myeloma. Following seven months

of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant

in 2018, Michelle is in remission.

“Receiving those treatments would not

have happened without research. It saved

my life,” she said. “The work done at VAI in

the last 25 years didn’t necessarily impact

my specific outcome, but it contributes to

a chain of knowledge that opens up new

possibilities.”

MICHELLE & KEVIN BASSETT (CENTER) WITH THEIR

CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN

26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


MICHELLE & KEVIN BASSETT

“What inspires in

us an overwhelming

desire to give is the

examples of others

around Grand Rapids

who also give. Other

people with deeper

pockets give freely

of their money,

and while we know

that our pockets

aren’t as deep,

our contributions

absolutely help along

the way.”

— Kevin Bassett

To learn more about supporting VAI through

a planned gift, visit vai.org/plannedgiving or

contact Philanthropy Director Steve Ozinga

at Steve.Ozinga@vai.org or 616.234.5040,

or Philanthropy Director Kate Frillmann at

Kate.Frillmann@vai.org or 616.234.5515.

Research can advance toward a

deeper understanding in the hopes of

one day supporting the development

of new treatments and clinical trials.

Donations help turn an idea into

action, and action into change.

A VAI scientist has an idea and

takes it into the lab for testing,

adjustment and data collection,

with support from donations and

other funding.

The dataset grows to a point

where large-scale funding

can be pursued.

Join VAI as a donor.

JAY AND BETTY VAN ANDEL

CIRCLE OF HOPE

The Jay and Betty Van Andel Circle of

Hope recognizes individuals and couples,

like Michelle and Kevin Bassett, who

have notified us that they have included

Van Andel Institute in their will or other

estate plans.

Donations, no matter the amount, can catapult an idea

from initial stages in the lab into bigger research efforts.

These ideas may one day lead to a deeper understanding of

health and disease and help to support the development of

new treatments and clinical trials.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 27


PHILANTHROPY

Scored Grant Program helps turn

inspiration into action

A spark of inspiration can strike at any moment. Picture a scientist

working hard at the bench, focusing intensely on an exciting new

idea. She buckles down to investigate her newfound idea, and the

data and evidence accumulate. Ready to take her research to the

next level, she applies for a grant, but falls just below the threshold

to receive funding.

Now what?

Grants from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of

Health are the main source of funding for scientific research in

the U.S. Funding is limited each year, and the process for earning

federal grants is highly rigorous and competitive.

To earn a federal grant, scientists must show that they have

enough data to support the idea they want to investigate. But

conducting the research necessary to generate this foundational

data can be hampered by a lack of funding — quite a catch-22.

That’s where Van Andel Institute’s Scored Grant Award Program

comes in. It provides research funding to scientists whose federal

grant applications scored very highly but just below the funding

threshold. This approach gives scientists with promising projects

the extra boost needed to conduct the additional research

necessary to put forth a revised, successful application in the

next round of grants. Philanthropic support of this program is an

important springboard for future research.

Projects supported in

2020 by VAI’s Scored

Grant Award Program

• Dr. Peter Laird: Developing a better cellular clock

• Dr. Matt Steensma: Connecting the genetic dots between a

rare disease and breast cancer

• Dr. Xiaobing Shi: Finding a new target for a tough-to-treat

type of lung cancer

• Dr. Hong Wen: Developing new treatments for pediatric

blood cancer

Dr. Laird was awarded a five-year, $3 million award from the

National Institute on Aging to support his research — a 30-fold

return on investment from the $100,000 that he received from

the Scored Grant Award Program. 1 Dr. Wen was awarded a

four-year, $818,173 award from the National Cancer Institute to

support her research. 2 Drs. Steensma and Shi also are seeking

federal funding.

1

This work is supported by Van Andel Institute and the National Institute on Aging of

the National Institutes of Health under award no. R01AG066764 (Laird). The content is

solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official

views of the granting organization.

2

This work is supported by Van Andel Institute and the National Cancer Institute of

In 2020, West Michigan engineering firm

Prein&Newhof marked 50 years in business. To

celebrate, and to honor the firm’s co-founder

Thomas Newhof, they established the Thomas &

Garretta Newhof/Prein&Newhof Research Fund

to support VAI’s Scored Grant Award Program.

The fund also honors Tom’s wife Garretta for

her unwavering commitment to the company’s

success.

Prein&Newhof also invited 150 employees to

support the fund, and Tom and Garretta showed

their appreciation with their own generous gift.

The combined gifts from Prein&Newhof and

matching dollars from VAI funded the Institute’s

Scored Grant Award Program in 2020.

the National Institutes of Health under award no. R01CA255506 (Wen). The content is

solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official

views of the granting organization.

28 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


MEMORIALS

We appreciate your trust in us to fight disease in memory or in honor of your family and friend s — with hope for a

healthier tomorrow. To make a gift in memory or honor of a loved one, please call 616.234.5552.

Allan Arnoys

Rob & Dawn Arnoys

Jean Atkinson

David & Patti Atkinson

David Baines

Roger & Kelley Stranger

James Barcelona

Alex Barcelona

Donna Bellgardt

Steve & Linda Drews

Reflection Lake Condo

Association

Gary Bleyer

Marlan & Alida Arnoys

James Bouwhuis

Steve & Tricia Dickens

Robert Bradford

Marvin & Ruth Bradford

Peter Bylsma

Carol Bylsma

Daniel Chappell

Thomas & Susan Swaney

Wyatt Collins

James & Janet Collins

Wendell Cooper

Peter & Ginger Herman

Barbara Ditch

Apothecary Gift Shop Staff

Raymond & Helen DeVries

Steven & Rita Falk

Wayne & Linda Pynnonen

Cindy Thomason

Karen Tucker

Kathleen Drennan

Patrick & Kristine Brady

Brock & Katie Plumb

Robert DuHadway

Bill & Linda Peterson

Thomas Dyke

Frieda Jaynes

Lorrie Jaynes

Debbie Jaynes‐Dyke

Melissa Eden

Keith & Carolyn Murphy

Juris Fred Erhards

Barbara Erhards

Elizabeth Foster

Doug & Sue Atkinson

Fred Deneke & Jim Eastman

Gloria Fauble

Ann Heffron

Marilyn Hiemstra

Brian & Casey Keck

Julie Lang

Jill McDonough

Stanley & Ellen Pasieka

Paul & Kathy Riewald

Richard Tallin

Jayne VerLee

George Goudie

Paul & Jean Becker

Kenneth & Carolyn Bowlin

Bruce & Donna Hood

H. Allan & Karen Mell

Patrick & Christine Nolan

Robert & Carolyn Pell

Russell & Lori Schuitema

Gary & Mary Silvis

Barbara Vukits

Robert Granstra

Carol Bauer

Kathleen Grogan

Donald Goeckel & Dianne

Weidner

Timothy Haak

Mary Haak

Carol Ann Haarman

Steve Haarman

Heather Iannacone

Joseph & Margaret Biersack

Robert Jares

Joanne Fowler

Mike & Lindsey John

James & Kimberle Johnson

Paula Joyner‐Clinard

Marnie Fondren

Gisela Kah

Win & Kyle Irwin

Mark Kastner

Arlin & Emma Disselkoen

Brenda Kastner

Nathanael Kastner

Diane Kent

Barbara McAnelly

Viviane Labrie Walters

Jean‐Pierre & Louise

Boileau Labrie

Bryan Las & Kyla Redden

Noelle Voluntad

Nelson McBride

Mary McBride

Thomas New

Lawrence Waite & Lucy

Hough‐Waite

Jane Nichols

Jack Nichols

Denise Picardat

Brian Picardat

Richard Pullen

Ruth Kemp

Marjorie Raab

Gene Raab

Neda Raterink

Gary Raterink

Harvey Ringerwole

Robert & Margaret

Andrews

Jerry & Karen Dejonge

Audrey Kortman

Lou Rena Reese

Joyce Ringerwole

Roger & Marilyn Van Til

Peter & Judy VanderArk

Kel & Pat Vanderkolk

David L. Rossi

Anne Rossi

James Schmalz

Leslie Schmalz

Peter Secchia

David & Carol Van Andel

Family Foundation

John Shiffer

John Vaughan

Keith Smith

Carol Smith

Charles Stehouwer

Marianne Stehouwer

Billy Swaney

Thomas & Susan Swaney

Luis Tomatis

David & Carol Van Andel

Family Foundation

Gordon Van Wylen

David & Carol Van Andel

Family Foundation

Robert VanDeKerkhove

Clifford & Mary Jo Tholen

Bill VanRegenmorter

Bill & Rosemary Stevenson

Daryl Vetter

Alvin & Barbara Masselink

Katherine Visota

Leo & Helen Boruta

Joe & Chris Czarnopys

Joseph & Amy Sevic

Craig & Kathy Stone

Barbara Visota

Eric Westra

Hilary Hoekwater

Rodney & Carla Muller

Raymond Winkel

Benjamin & Rachel Gurk

Carol Winton

Michael & Joni Corbett

Walt & Margaret Kauppila

Raymond & Barbara Nelson

Gene Yost

Carole Yost

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 29


PHILANTHROPY

TRIBUTES

Gerald Bovenkamp

Michael Garland

George A. Sharpe

Todd Stevens

Kimberly Van Stee

Chris & Julie Bovenkamp

Cynthia Thayer

Fredrick & Elizabeth

Kathleen Teunis

Alvin & Joyce Docter

Edgerton

Phantom Hockey Families

Thomas & Garretta

David & Carol Van Andel

Christa Grieve

Newhof

Matthew R. Steensma

Duke Suwyn

Kevin & Julie Kieft

Arlin & Emma Disselkoen

Greg & Barbara Marczak

These lists represent gifts made between July 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. The accuracy of these lists is very important to us.

Please contact 616.234.5552 if an error has been made.

In Memoriam

PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN’S FORD SCHOOL

Peter Secchia, an ardent supporter of

Van Andel Institute and a member of its

Board of Governors, passed away Oct.

21, 2020, at the age of 83. He often was

described as “larger than life” and leaves

a substantial hole in the collective spirit of

West Michigan and in the hearts of family

and friends worldwide. Along with his wife,

Joan, Secchia was a long-time supporter of

VAI from the early years. “What a time this

is for Grand Rapids … new and improved

medical facilities, a new medical school, a

focus on life sciences … and right at the

heart of all of this is Van Andel Institute,”

said the pair in VAI’s 2007 Annual Report.

“The city is experiencing a complete

transformation.” Secchia was the recipient

of many notable awards throughout his

life, including the Carol Van Andel Angel of

Excellence Award, which he and Joan each

received in 2017. The award celebrates

individuals who have demonstrated

significant contributions to VAI through

volunteer service and philanthropy.

Elsewhere on the Medical Mile, when

Michigan State University was seeking to

expand its medical school, Secchia worked

to ensure its new campus was located in

Grand Rapids. Today, MSU’s College of

Human Medicine is housed in the Secchia

Center on the city’s Medical Mile.

30 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE


Dr. Luis Tomatis, a driving force in bringing

Van Andel Institute to life, passed away

Sept. 29, 2020. Originally from Argentina,

Tomatis was an energetic advocate for

Grand Rapids, Mich. He was influential in

creating and maintaining the environment

that enabled the Institute to thrive and

the Medical Mile to sprout up around us.

Tomatis helped recruit top-tier scientific

talent to establish VAI’s first Board of

Scientific Advisors and appoint Nobel

Laureate Dr. Michael Brown as the board’s

first chairman. After serving as VAI’s

founding president from 1995 to 2001, he

went on to become the director of medical

affairs for the Richard M. DeVos family.

A cardiothoracic surgeon, Tomatis was a

former chief of cardiovascular surgery at

Spectrum Health and MSU professor of

cardiac surgery. He won numerous awards,

volunteered for organizations like the

American Heart Association and the Grand

Rapids Symphony, and was responsible for

arranging for invaluable medical equipment

to be sent to his homeland of Argentina.

Dr. Gordon Van Wylen passed away Nov.

5, 2020, at the age of 100. As one of

VAI’s original trustees, Van Wylen was

instrumental in establishing the early

programs of Van Andel Institute for

Education and created the groundwork

for the success of VAI. We continue to see

his vision in action through the programs

we are developing and implementing

today, some 25 years later. A man of

immense scientific knowledge, education,

experience and integrity, Van Wylen was an

accomplished educator and administrator.

He served as dean of engineering at

University of Michigan, as Hope College

president for 15 years, and as founding

trustee and inaugural director of Van Andel

Institute for Education. Van Wylen

generously devoted his time and talent to

numerous other organizations throughout

his life. He was widely regarded as a

thoughtful, visionary, kind and respectful

leader.

VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 31


Leave a

legacy of

support

What is it?

A charitable gift annuity provides donors with a fixed lifetime

income at an attractive rate, tax benefits, and the peace of

mind of providing long-term support to Van Andel Institute’s

breakthrough cancer and Parkinson’s research and innovative

educational programs.

through a

charitable

gift

annuity

Requirements

Minimum age

Minimum amount

Assets accepted

Payments to you

Rates

70 years

(55 years for deferred gift

annuity)

$25,000

Cash or appreciated

securities (such as stocks

and/or bonds)

Annually,

quarterly

or monthly

VAI uses annuity rates as recommended by the American Council

on Gift Annuities, effective July 1, 2020. Rates are subject to

change. Please contact us regarding your age and situation.

Age (years)

70 75 80 85 90+

Rate (%)

4.7 5.4 6.5 7.6 8.6

For more information about charitable gift

annuities and estate planning, please contact:

Kate Frillmann, Philanthropy Director

616.234.5515

Kate.Frillmann@vai.org

Steve Ozinga, Philanthropy Director

616.234.5040

Steve.Ozinga@vai.org

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