About Purple Community

Purple Community's Mission

Purple Community, Van Andel Institute’s grassroots fundraising and awareness program, connects individuals, schools, teams and businesses to the resources needed to support groundbreaking cancer and Parkinson’s disease research. In 2017, Purple Community members hosted more than 150 events throughout Michigan that raised more than $622,000.

Purple Community events bring people from every walk of life together to celebrate the power of family, friendship and community action. They also give people the chance to honor those fighting disease and pay tribute to those who have lost their fight against cancer and Parkinson’s. Every event is a collection of stories — people coming together to support one another and help make the world a better, healthier place.

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 — 100% of your funds support Van Andel Institute scientists who are studying more than 20 different diseases, including:

Aging
Asthma
Alzheimer’s
Blood cancer
Bone cancer
Breast cancer
Colorectal cancer

Depression/suicide
Diabetes
Heart disease
Lewy Body Dementia
Neurofibromatosis type 1
Osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis

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

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.