Embodying the spirit of philanthropy: Jim & Jane Zwiers

Jim and Jane Zwiers are a prime example of how the members of Van Andel Institute’s Board of Governors embody in their everyday lives the spirit of our mission — to impact human health and enhance lives for current and future generations.

Jim & Jane Zwiers

The Calvin University alumni have been married for nearly 31 years, and together have given time and funds to VAI for almost a decade.

“Philanthropy is a big part of our lives and our family, especially as it connects to things like youth, education and the outdoors,” said Jane. “Each of our children has found a way in their adult lives to remain connected to volunteering and nonprofit work, and we are proud that they also continue to give back to this community.”

Like many VAI donors and volunteers, the Zwiers have close family members and friends who have been impacted by diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Supporting the Institute gives them a meaningful role in addressing these diseases at the highest levels of research.

“We are privileged to have VAI’s world-class scientists and facilities right here in Grand Rapids; they are deeply impacting the lives of individuals and our community,” said Jim. “At the fundraising and informational events, it’s inspiring to hear about their ingenuity and skills. It makes the work of VAI come to life.”

The pair, in addition to their philanthropic support, also dedicate time and energy to donor initiatives at the Institute and beyond. Jane serves on VAI’s Hope on the Hill Gala planning committee. She also serves on the Wedgwood Christian Services Board, and volunteers and fundraises for a variety of charities and nonprofits.

Jim, who formerly worked as a CPA and a lawyer after receiving his J.D. from University of Michigan, now serves as executive vice president at Wolverine Worldwide. Like his wife, he prioritizes giving back to his community; he sits on the board of Grand Rapids’ famed ArtPrize and has served on the boards of several industry and community nonprofit organizations.

“VAI’s mission is a bold one, and to supporters, volunteers, scientists, staff and patients, it means hope,” said Jane. “Hope for better health, hope for better understanding and hope for cures to some of the most challenging and devastating diseases facing our society.”

Members of Van Andel Institute’s Board of Governors support the Institute financially and are ambassadors who share VAI’s mission, vision and important work with others to advance the Institute’s efforts. Learn more about the Board of Governors at vai.org/help-donate/board-of-governors/.