Van Andel Institute and Grand Rapids DRIVE partner for Purple Community® game to benefit biomedical research

Grand Rapids, Mich. (November 19, 2014) – Van Andel Institute (VAI) and Purple Community® are teaming up with the Grand Rapids DRIVE, a new NBA development league basketball team headquartered in Grand Rapids, for their home opener Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. The game will celebrate the addition of the team to the Grand Rapids community and raise funds and awareness for cancer and neurodegenerative disease research at VAI.

Fans are encouraged to share their motivation for supporting biomedical research at the game with #whatsyourpurple on social media leading up to and during the game. A Purple Community ticket package is also available for sale, and a portion of the proceeds benefit VAI. The package includes a ticket to the game, Purple Community thunder-sticks, Grand Rapids DRIVE “Beat LA” t-shirt, exclusive on-court group photo after the game and meet and greet with two players. Children can also participate in a “high five tunnel” prior to the game. Ticket packages are $20 for adults and $10 for children 13 and under.

“We’re so grateful for the support of the Grand Rapids community over the last several months,” said team president Steve Jbara.  “It seems only fitting that our first home game gives back to the community that’s done so much for us.”

A portion of the proceeds of each Purple Community ticket package purchased supports cancer and neurodegenerative disease research and science education at Van Andel Institute. Thanks to the generous endowment left by VAI founders Jay and Betty Van Andel, 100 percent of all funds raised by Purple Community go directly to support biomedical research and science education.

“We’re thrilled to be working with our new partners at the DRIVE to raise awareness and funds for disease research at Van Andel Institute,” said Nikki Outhier, purple community national programs manager. The Purple Game will be a fun kick-off for the season, and it will give fans a way to support an important cause at the same time.”

The Grand Rapids DRIVE will take on the Los Angeles D-Fenders at Deltaplex Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. Game starts at 7 p.m. Purple Community ticket packages are available at

About Purple Community

Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s dynamic community engagement program that connects individuals, schools, teams, companies and corporations that want to join the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases to the resources needed for action. Individualized tools and customized assistance are available to create events and programs that help raise funds for biomedical research and science education at Van Andel Institute. Begun in 2009, Purple Community is expanding nationally, with more than 160 events scheduled in 2014. The program recently surpassed the $1 million mark in donations. Thanks to a generous endowment from Jay and Betty Van Andel, every dollar of every donation goes directly to the cause. Find out more about Purple Community by visiting 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.

About Van Andel Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in more than 20 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Find out more about Van Andel Institute by visiting 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.

About Grand Rapids DRIVE

The Grand Rapids DRIVE, owned by SSJ Group LLC, is a proud affiliate of the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. The team’s inaugural season of play is the NBA Development League’s 2014-2015 season, which begins November 2014. The organization is dedicated to providing a quality professional basketball experience for basketball fans of all ages. The organization is also committed to giving back to the community through various programs and fundraisers. For more information about the organization, log on to, or follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @grdleague and on Facebook at or by searching Grand Rapids DRIVE.