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FALL 2015




The late Arthur Joseph Jabury and Dorothy Broekstra

Philanthropist Bequeaths $3 Million to Van Andel Education Institute Institute Blessed by Surprise Gift A man who earned his first dollar shining shoes and taught himself to invest in stocks bequeathed nearly half his fortune to Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) upon his death—an amount totaling $3 million. Arthur Joseph Jabury’s gift—designated to support VAEI’s Science Academy— took the Institute completely by surprise, as there had been no prior communication about the intended gesture while Jabury was alive.

Alpine Avenue NW. He and his wife had no children. After being widowed, he and retired educator Dorothy Broekstra became companions. Jabury had been best friends since his youth with Dorothy’s late husband, Bob, and the couples often socialized. During their 20-plus years together, Broekstra helped Jabury keep meticulous financial records, which

“Mr. Jabury’s quiet generosity is an incredible inspiration,” remarked David Van Andel, chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute (VAI). “His acknowledgment of the Institute’s impact on science education is received with great gratitude.”

“I remember when he talked about the upcoming Medical Mile and the role Van Andel Institute had in helping make it happen,” she said. “Art believed in the research and education being conducted at the Institute, especially since he was himself faced with heart and lung disease.”

Huge Impact Jabury’s gift comes at an opportune time, said Love Collins, III, vice president of development, communications and marketing at VAI, as Van Andel Institute launches NexGen Inquiry™ —an ambitious initiative destined to transform the way science is taught in K-12 schools. Efforts are underway to underwrite the program and this gift will help make it widely accessible in school districts across the country.

Humble Beginnings Jabury, who died in October 2014, was born in 1927 and raised on Grand Rapids’ Lower West Side. As a pre-teen, he worked as a shoeshine boy along Monroe Avenue. He graduated from Grand Rapids Union High School, served in the U.S. Army, and then graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Michigan in 1953 on the G.I. Bill. Jabury spent his career in accounting and personnel at General Motors Fisher Body plant on

he rendered in pencil into large ledger books dating back to the 1950s. According to Broekstra, Jabury conducted his own research into VAI in the same painstaking way he explored investment opportunities.

Arthur Jabury as a paper boy

“Mr. Jabury’s bequest will help us accelerate our efforts to teach students how to think and act like scientists,” said Collins. “He leaves an important legacy as we educate the researchers of tomorrow.”

FALL 2015


HIGHLIGHTS of HOPE The Self-Mending Heart When esteemed scientist and cardiologist Dr. Stefan Jovinge was a medical student he learned human heart cells did not possess the capacity to regenerate. Now, as head of a laboratory at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), director of the DeVos Cardiovascular Research Program (a joint effort between VARI and Spectrum Health) and medical director of research at the Frederik Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute, Jovinge has proven that theory wrong. In a groundbreaking paper published this summer in the scientific journal Cell, Jovinge and collaborators at Karolinska Institute in Sweden outlined a striking discovery—not only does the human heart have the capacity to regenerate muscle cells, which they demonstrated previously, but this regeneration occurs in multiple sites throughout the heart muscle. Additionally, cellular turnover occurs several times in a human life span, but the number of cells hits a threshold at 3.2 billion.

The Path Toward Regenerative Therapies This recent finding builds on the group’s 2009 Science paper, where Jovinge and his collaborators first described the heart’s potential for regeneration via the production of cardiomyocytes, the heart’s muscle cells. Still, the discovery left Jovinge with many unanswered questions that led to their new study. “Is the generation of cardiomyocytes restricted and generated from certain locations in the heart? Is the heart increasing in size mainly by adding more cells? And how does the growth and expansion of the other cells in the heart occur?” Jovinge said. “The prospect of using the heart’s inherent capacity to

2 | Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope

Dr. Stefan Jovinge

generate heart muscle cells in adults to make the heart repair itself requires answers to these questions. Our new discoveries do that.”

Annually, about 735,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These latest findings provide avenues to understand the source for heart cell regeneration and bring the field one step closer to developing therapies that regenerate heart tissue

to repair damage from injuries, such as heart attack.

Revolutionizing Treatment Options Annually, about 735,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current therapies for injury to the heart muscle may involve lifelong drug treatment or surgery such as a heart transplant—none of which actually repair damage. Jovinge and his team are working diligently to find the individual cell types responsible for heart muscle regeneration, and aim to uncover how this process is regulated in order to develop the next generation of cardiac therapies. Jovinge’s work changes the way these treatments will be developed and provides hope that one day the heart can be stimulated to mend itself. Learn more or support Dr. Jovinge’s work at

Two VARI Scientists Make Big Waves with Recent Discoveries It was a busy summer for Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) structural biologists Dr. H. Eric Xu and Dr. Karsten Melcher.

Dr. Karsten Melcher

In recent months, the duo made two groundbreaking discoveries, each of which were highlighted in prestigious journals. The first was a highly anticipated paper in Nature that describes the molecular structure of a major pharmacological target. Using the brightest X-ray laser in the world, housed at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California, Xu and Melcher’s teams, along with collaborators at 25 institutions around the globe, uncovered the structure of a signaling protein bound to a receptor that belongs to one of the largest protein superfamilies. Named G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs), this group of molecules is targeted by more than 30 percent of the drugs currently on the market, and has great promise for future drug development.

The groundbreaking work provides investigators searching for new therapies for cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other disorders with much needed information to develop better and more effective treatments. The second paper, published in Science Advances, describes how components of a molecular switchboard in plants interact to turn certain genes on or off in response to a multitude of stressors, including temperature fluctuations. The findings provide further insight into human molecular mechanisms and give scientists a general model across species for this type of gene silencing. Each of these discoveries is important in its own right, but taken together they provide an extensive look into molecular pathways that may be harnessed to treat cancer and other diseases.

In the first week of its publication, Xu and Melcher’s Nature paper was viewed more than 20,000 times by scientists from across the world. Dr. H. Eric Xu

Your donations make a difference. Please visit or call (616) 234-5030 to support Dr. Xu and Dr. Melcher’s work. Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 3

FALL 2015


HIGHLIGHTS of HOPE Fellowship Program Breaks Down Barriers Between the Lab and Clinic Training top-tier biomedical research talent in translational research remains a cornerstone of Van Andel Institute’s overarching strategy. In order to encourage the development of individuals who understand both the research and clinical worlds at the beginning of their careers, the Institute has developed a Physician-Scientist training program that emphasizes an innovative, interdisciplinary approach. VAIGS Physician-Scientist programs train individuals who are both clinical physicians and scientific research professionals with biomedical research skills. Through this program, the Institute supports individuals who can navigate between the laboratory and the clinic and accelerate the Institute’s ability to develop new therapeutic strategies for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. DJ Scholten is the first student to graduate with a Ph.D. from VAIGS while also pursuing an M.D. at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU-CHM). He will now return to MSU to complete his last two years of medical school. Scholten was enthusiastic about the program’s translational emphasis. “Because I was interested in medicine, I liked how a lot of the work being done could readily impact treatment options and decisions for patient management,” he explained.

Making a Commitment to the Community With the generous support of the Bea Aldrink Idema Foundation, the VAIGS Physician-Scientist Training Fellowships provide the financial support for students in this training that connects

DJ Scholten

the missions of multiple entities in the West Michigan biomedical community, including leading hospitals and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Bea Idema, wife of William Idema whose family cofounded Steelcase, formed the family foundation with the purpose of supporting education, health and welfare in the community. Idema sees VAIGS as an opportunity to support education with a specific purpose.

“I am thankful for organizations like Van Andel Institute that have chosen to make a commitment to this community by training and developing the careers of great researchers and doctors,” said Idema. The long-term impact of programs like the Physician-Scientist Training Fellowships will further enhance Van Andel Institute’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge medical research and treatment.

Learn more about how you can support VAIGS and programs by calling (616) 234-5040 or emailing 4 | Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope

Country Music Powerhouse B-93 FM Raises $49K to Benefit the Institute parent company. “Supporting research that may one day lead to a cure gives us great hope that the next generation won’t have those same experiences.”

The partnership between B-93 FM, the nation’s leading country station, and Van Andel Institute continues to thrive and produce exciting results. At B-93 FM’s Birthday Bash, on June 13, the station celebrated its second annual Country Kicks Cancer event, cumulatively raising over $49,000 for the Institute. Plans are also underway for the second annual Country Kicks Cancer radio marathon Oct. 19-23.

“Van Andel Institute scientists are making breakthroughs every day, and the support of companies like iHeartMedia moves their work forward at a faster rate,” said David Van Andel, VAI chairman and CEO. “This valuable partnership leverages the strengths of both organizations for the benefit of human health.” Thank you to B-93 FM and the many wonderful Birthday Bash volunteers!

“Supporting research that may one day lead to a cure gives us great hope that the next generation won’t have those same experiences.” Tim Feagan

“Several of us have been affected by cancer and disease, whether it was the diagnosis of a parent, friend or child,” said Tim Feagan, regional market president of iHeartMedia, B-93 FM’s

INAUGURAL PURPLE COMMUNITY 5K RACES TOWARD FUNDRAISING SUCCESS Three miles, 400 participants and $42,000 raised to benefit the Institute’s biomedical research and science education initiatives! The inaugural Purple Community 5K and one-mile fun run powered by Consumers Credit Union was held on May 30. Both runners and walkers enjoyed the race, entertainment, food and free

goodies from event sponsors including Gazelle Sports and B-93 FM. The event brought together donors, athletes and VAI scientists and staff for a day of awareness and philanthropy. “I wanted to participate in this run to show my support and appreciation for all of the runners who were raising money to support our research,”said Dr. Jeremy

Van Raamsdonk, assistant professor in Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science. The inaugural 5K was such a success that plans are already being made for next year’s event! Thank you to the Purple Community 5K planning committee, volunteers and sponsors! Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 5

FALL 2015


HIGHLIGHTS of HOPE Breweries Stand Together to Battle Cancer and Parkinson’s Craft breweries are partnering with Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) Purple Community this fall during Hops for Hope to raise funds for cancer and Parkinson’s disease research. When patrons at participating breweries order a “purple” beer, the brewery will donate a portion of proceeds to the Institute. The sale of special edition Hops for Hope growlers also supports the cause.

Giving Back “It’s good to give back to the community,” said Bob Bonga, owner of the family-owned and operated Jaden James Brewery in Kentwood, Michigan. “I watched my wife’s mother go through Parkinson’s. It’s a long, hard fight, and it affects quite a few people in many ways.” All proceeds raised at the Jaden James Brewery during Hops for Hope will support Parkinson’s disease

research at VAI in honor of Bonga’s mother-in-law. Justin Ewald, Purple Community associate and Hops for Hope event organizer, is overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and generosity the program is receiving from craft breweries in Michigan. “It’s amazing to see people who are passionate about their craft coming together to support research into cancer and diseases such as Parkinson’s,” Ewald said. “We are incredibly grateful for all of the support this program has received."

It’s Personal Joe Rudnick, co-owner of Tapistry Brewing, decided to participate for a second year in Hops for Hope because for him, the fight against cancer is personal. Rudnick lost his father to a cancerous brain tumor.

“It’s good to give back to the community. I watched my wife’s mother go through Parkinson’s. It’s a long, hard fight, and it affects quite a few people in many ways.” Bob Bonga

“My father was 59; he had just retired and he jogged five miles per day. This cause is close to my heart for obvious reasons,” said Rudnick. “If there’s a silver lining in all of this it would be to educate others.” Businesses or individuals interested in participating in Hops for Hope can send inquiries to

APPLEBEE’S AND ATWATER BREWING GET THEIR PURPLE ON! Atwater Brewery and Applebee’s in Holland, Michigan, recently teamed up to support cancer research at VAI through the Purple Community Hops for Hope initiative. Leading up to the event, Applebee’s employees had a friendly competition to see who could raise the most money through donations from patrons and a car wash. “Our employees had a blast participating, knowing they helped a great cause,” Applebee’s bar manager Corina Nelson said. 6 | Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope

During the event held on July 9, Applebee’s donated 20 percent of all food and nonalcoholic beverage sales to Van Andel Institute. That evening, Atwater Brewery, founded in Detroit in 1997, took over Applebee's beer taps and unveiled a new craft beer brewed especially for the event. The event marks the beginning of a fruitful partnership between the Institute and a beloved Detroit business. “We love giving back to great organizations such as

Van Andel Institute, and this is just the beginning of our relationship with them,” Atwater Brewery owner Mark Reith said. “The team had a great time coming up with our specialty crafted beer for this event.” Thank you to the teams at Atwater Brewing and Applebee’s Holland for such a memorable event!

Thank YOU for Your Generosity! Leadership & Legacy, Van Andel Institute’s donor appreciation reception, took place June 9 at the Institute. The event marked its four-year anniversary, recognizing 35 new inductees to the Leadership Society and five inductees to the Legacy Society. Donors in the Leadership Society have given $10,000 or more, while donors in the Legacy Society have given $100,000 or more cumulatively. Of the five Legacy Society inductees, two were moving from the Leadership Society and three were new to the society. Among the Leadership Society recipients were the KiMe Fund, a Tennessee foundation that supports innovative Parkinson’s disease research; iHeart Media, specifically B-93 FM’s Country Kicks Cancer event; and Neiman Marcus for their Art of Fashion and Research partnership. These three companies, among many other companies and individuals, are providing Van Andel Institute with vital partnerships that help increase the impact of the Institute’s mission.

Find Out How You Can Get Involved! Reach out to a Van Andel Institute Development representative today to help support dynamic biomedical research and science education initiatives. Your partnership ensures that Van Andel Institute will continue to discover new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, and educating the scientific leaders of tomorrow. Call 616-234-5030 for information on how your generosity can make a difference.

Deanna Hatmaker, Tim Feagan, Carol Van Andel, David Van Andel, Lindsey Machacek Barile

LEGACY $100,000+ • Blanche E. Ash Trust • Chuck and Christine Boelkins • Foundation for Advanced Cancer Studies

• Bea A. Idema • The Stephen M. Coffman Charitable Trust

LEADERSHIP $10,000+ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

B-93 FM - iHeart Media Biogen Idec Charles and Pamela Brickey In memory of Shane Brickey Wayne and Theresa Brown Patrik and Lena Brundin Cascade Fellowship Christian Reformed Church Kelley Cawthorne CityFlatsHotel The Color Run Covenant Christian High School Czech Asset Management, L.P. Detroit Red Wings Jack and Mary DeWitt Marvin and Jerene DeWitt Foundation Ellis Parking Company Dr. James and Gail Fahner Hannapel Orthodontics

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ilitch Charities KiMe Fund Michelle Lunn Hope Foundation McDonnell Investment Management, LLC Medtronic Inc. Mika Meyers, PLC Miles for Memories - Calhoun County Louis H. & Nancy A. Moran II Neiman Marcus Regal Financial Group, LLC Sanders Foundation Teva Pharmaceuticals U.S. Bank Donna Van Haren VWR Charitable Foundation Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women’s Lifestyle Magazine

Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 7

FALL 2015



HOPE Sheryl Crow Rocks Nashville for VAI Hope & Denim, held May 29 in Nashville, featured a live concert from renowned pop and country star Sheryl Crow. More than 400 people were in attendance at Marathon Music Works to enjoy a night of country musicfueled awareness-building and fundraising. Thanks to emcee Blair Garner, host of America’s Morning Show with Blair Garner on Nash FM; hosts Brent and Tami Peterson, founders of the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's; host Phillip Fulmer, college football hall of fame coach; and sponsors 95.5 Nash Icon, Cumulus, Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's and Regal Financial Group. At the same time, almost 200 people attended an event at Van Andel Institute featuring the local band Bennett followed by a simulcast of Sheryl Crow’s performance in Nashville.

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Blair Sharpe, Michelle Sharpe, Linda Sharpe, George Sharpe Sr., Carol Van Andel, Missy Sharpe, George Sharpe Jr.

Entrepreneur and Business Leaders Celebrated at Angel of Excellence Awards The third annual Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence dinner and award presentation took place April 30. The event, hosted by Carol Van Andel, executive director of the David and Carol Van Andel Foundation, and Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) Board of Governors, honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Institute through volunteer service, philanthropy, special event support, innovation or scientific support. This year the event honored the philanthropic and leadership efforts of Leigh’s, a women’s specialty store located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and members of the Sharpe family, Grand Rapids-based entrepreneurs and owners of the Sharpe Collection automotive dealerships. Leigh’s has played an instrumental role in the success of VAI’s Couture for a Cure event, and the Sharpes chair VAI’s Winterfest event, which has cumulatively raised more than $1 million for Parkinson’s disease research at the Institute. Both events celebrate their 10th anniversaries this year.

Deb Clark, Carol Van Andel, Rebecca Wierda, Patrick Plank Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 9

FALL 2015



Men’s Health the Focus at First Annual Get in the Game Event Men’s health was the focus of Van Andel Institute’s Get in the Game event held July 15. Guests joined men’s health experts at the Institute for an evening of inspiration, information and hope. Van Andel Research Institute scientists Drs. Cindy Miranti and Xiahong Li were among a group of presenters who discussed prostate cancer research and men’s health topics. The audience also had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with a panel of experts from VARI, Spectrum Health Medical Group and the Born Preventive Health Care Clinic. Current Washington Redskins and former MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered the evening’s keynote address. Get in the Game was made possible thanks to generous sponsors including Doug Meijer, the Battershall Family, Berger Chevrolet and the Hilton Family.

10 | Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope

Keynote speaker Kirk Cousins

VAI Takes Its Mission to the National Stage Van Andel Institute National Initiative (VAINI) events continue to take the Institute’s message of hope to new and vibrant audiences around the country. Thanks to lifestyle publication giant Modern Luxury and the generous support of hosts in each city, the Institute held a number of successful events. Guests had the opportunity to learn about the innovative biomedical research and science education initiatives taking place at the Institute. The events also gave VAI scientists and education experts the chance to network with leaders in business, philanthropy and the arts. A very special thank you to: Dallas: Derek and West Michigan

native Lena Alley; Blake and Tom Stephenson Chicago: John Carroll, president of the Eastern Division and group publisher of Modern Luxury Los Angeles: Chris Gialanella, group publisher of Angeleno; Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, philanthropists and art patrons Aspen: Alan Klein, publisher of Aspen Magazine; Nathaniel and Sheila Crosby, Lloyd and Susan Miller. If you’re interested in hosting or attending a VAINI event in your city, contact Sarah Murphy Lamb at

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey

Grassroots Fundraising Gets Creative at Tempting Tables When is a table setting more than the sum of its parts? When the table setting is part of the biennial Tempting Tables event! First organized in 1996, Tempting Tables is a grassroots, creative table setting event that raises funds to support breast cancer research. The event features elegantly decorated and concept tablescapes and collections, each with a unique theme and presentation. Tempting Tables is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who are passionate about fighting breast cancer. The organizers of the event are especially interested in the impact biomedical research can have on breast cancer therapies, and in 2013 Van Andel Research Institute’s Dr. Carrie Graveel addressed the event’s

organizers. Over the past five years, Tempting Tables has contributed more than $50,000 to Dr. Graveel’s research into novel therapies for breast cancer. The 2015 Tempting Tables event takes place Oct. 14-18 at the Holiday Inn in Muskegon, Michigan. There is a high tea luncheon, patron preview and seminar scheduled for Oct. 14, and viewing hours are available on the Tempting Tables website.

Are You Interested in Supporting Tempting Tables? If you’re interested in volunteering, sponsoring or participating in this year’s Tempting Tables event, visit for more information.

Van Andel Institute Highlights of Hope | 11

Donor Spotlight: David Reese—Giving Back and Making Things Right

333 Bostwick Ave NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Reese decided to give monthly because it’s a more manageable way to give for his family. “We give what we have, not what we might have coming,” he said. “We also want to make sure we give where it doesn’t get gobbled up by administrative fees.” Because of a generous endowment from founders Jay and Betty Van Andel, 100 percent of every dollar donated to Van Andel Institute goes directly to support biomedical research and science education. Meet David Reese, a breast cancer survivor who makes a point of giving every month to Van Andel Institute. “I woke up one morning and noticed a lump, and thought I should get it checked out right away. I’m glad I did,” says Reese. “Cancer has touched my life and the lives of so many people I know. The work you do here at Van Andel Institute is just incredible.”

Now retired, Reese is an avid motorcyclist who travels extensively and captures up to 3,500 photos per trip. “Most of the people I know have everything they need, plus enough for some nice extras. But there are so many people out there who don’t,” he said. “If we can’t give to them, what good are we? [Giving] is part of making everything right.” Thank you, David Reese, and the countless others who donate

regularly to Van Andel Institute. You are helping make a difference for patients and families today and in the generations to come.

“Cancer has touched my life and the lives of so many people I know. The work you do here at Van Andel Institute is just incredible.” David Reese It’s easy to become a monthly donor to Van Andel Institute! Visit to start your monthly gift today.

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Highlights of Hope - Fall 2015  

A magazine for donors with event photos, donor stories, and updates about what’s going on at Van Andel Institute. Read about the work made p...

Highlights of Hope - Fall 2015  

A magazine for donors with event photos, donor stories, and updates about what’s going on at Van Andel Institute. Read about the work made p...