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Founded by the Van Andel family in 1996, VAI is now home to nearly 500 scientists, educators and staff — each one of us deeply connected to the work we do and driven by an urgent desire to improve health and enhance lives.
Through cutting-edge biomedical research, inspired scientific education and relentless commitment, Van Andel Institute is unleashing innovations that will improve health and enhance lives for generations to come.
"We are an institute with and without walls. It is the essence of what we do that is different from anyone else.”
History & Legacy
A Guiding Light of Hope
Jay and Betty Van Andel founded Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996. Their vision? To build an independent institute that would embrace novel approaches to biomedical research and science education, and to develop a network of collaborations with distinguished organizations in West Michigan and across the world.
The Van Andel Family Legacy
Through the founding of Van Andel Institute, Jay and Betty Van Andel have left a legacy that impacts the lives of current and future generations. VAI is a reflection of their generosity and deep care for humankind.
Tribute to Betty Van Andel
Betty Van Andel was a former teacher and lifelong advocate for children. Van Andel Institute for Education was founded on her belief in the importance of K–12 science education and honors Betty’s memory and passion for education.
David Van Andel
David Van Andel is Chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute. A long-time entrepreneur in the natural and life science products industry, Van Andel has a propensity for embodying the hope and innovation that drives VAI’s mission to improve lives and enhance health. He is an active presence in VAI’s philanthropic endeavors alongside his wife, Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation.
Leading with passion and science
Van Andel Institute transforms human health through groundbreaking biomedical research and cutting-edge science education. Our leadership team empowers VAI’s world-class scientists and educators to catalyze collaboration and relentlessly pursue breakthroughs for diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and to train the next generation of scientists through rigorous graduate education and inspired K–12 science programs.
Designed for innovation and collaboration.
Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI’s building was designed by famed architect Rafael Viñoly to be constructed in two phases, finished in 2000 and 2009, respectively. Set into a steep hill and drawing its design inspiration for the iconic glass roof from the city’s river rapids, VAI sits at the heart of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile and provides workspace for nearly 500 scientists, educators, students and support staff.
Your life’s work. Here and now.
Our scientists, educators and staff focus their energy on a singular, unifying mission: to improve the health and enhance the lives of current and future generations.
We’re raising thousands to save millions.
We’re turning hope into action for the millions of people around the world affected by diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Find out how you can help us make a difference.
- 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope
- 6,551 Annual Gifts in 2020
- 41 Clinical Trials