About Purple Community

Purple Community's Mission

Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s grassroots community awareness and fundraising program that connects individuals, schools, teams and businesses to the resources needed to join the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Individualized tools and customized assistance are available to create events and programs that help raise funds for biomedical research at Van Andel Institute.

When you fundraise through Purple Community, your efforts go further. Thanks to a generous endowment from Jay and Betty Van Andel, every dollar of every donation goes directly to the cause—that’s 100% HOPE!

Research is expensive and government funding of scientific research is at a historic low. It currently takes more than 10 years and a billion dollars to bring a new drug or treatment from the laboratory bench to a patient’s bedside. We need your help to make this process go faster. When you hold a Purple Community fundraising event, 100% of your funds support Van Andel Institute scientists who are studying more than 20 different diseases, including:

Blood cancer
Bone cancer
Breast cancer
Colorectal cancer

Heart disease
Lewy Body Dementia
Neurofibromatosis type 1

Ovarian cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Parkinson’s disease
Prion diseases
Prostate cancer

About Van Andel Institute

Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, VAI has grown into a premiere research and educational institution that supports the work of more than 360 scientists, educators and staff.

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), the research division of VAI, is dedicated to determining the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translating those findings into effective therapies. The Institute’s scientists work in on-site laboratories and participate in collaborative partnerships that span the globe.

Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), the education division of VAI, is leading a national revolution in science education by uniquely empowering teachers to engage students to think and act like scientists. VAEI is dedicated to strengthening science education through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum—from elementary up to the professional level.  

Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense problem-focused Ph.D. degree in cell and molecular genetics. By combining rigorous, inquiry-based coursework with extensive experience in laboratories led by the Institute’s expert faculty, VAIGS prepares students for productive careers in biomedical research and beyond.