West Michigan native tapped to lead Van Andel Institute development efforts

Brett Holleman brings national experience to leading bio-medical research institute

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Aug. 23, 2017)—Today, Van Andel Institute (VAI) announced the appointment of Brett Holleman as chief development officer. Holleman comes to VAI from Mayo Clinic and most recently from Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation in Colorado, where he served as vice president of development.

A Holland native and a graduate of Hope College, Holleman has long appreciated VAI’s mission to improve human health through biomedical research and science education. “Over the past two decades, the Institute has become a world-class organization, with collaborations that span the globe. At the same time, the Van Andel family’s commitment to philanthropy and community service has played an integral role in the development of the Medical Mile and growth of Grand Rapids.”

Brett Holleman

Holleman appreciates the opportunity to work with proven leaders in scientific research and education. “One of the first things I noticed about the Institute is the authenticity and integrity of the leadership, scientists and educators,” he said. “They are totally committed to making a global difference.” As chief development officer, Holleman will work to share the achievements, successes and on-going opportunities associated with the cancer and Parkinson’s disease research at VAI, while seeking philanthropic support to advance treatments in those areas. He also will focus on innovations in science education.

“We conducted a national search to find the best person available for this critical role and are thrilled to have found someone with Brett’s experience in development,” said Jana Hall, Ph.D., VAI chief operations officer. “With his deep roots in West Michigan, Brett is an ideal fit for the Institute.”

Holleman’s professional experience includes serving as major gifts officer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and holding the same position at his alma mater, Hope College in Holland. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has obtained the Certificate of Fund Raising Management.

“I’m grateful to once again be part of this philanthropic community,” said Holleman. “West Michigan is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, integrity and willingness to support community organizations like VAI that are designed to benefit everyone. It is a privilege to be here.”


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit 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 premier research and educational institution. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research division, 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 is home to more than 360 scientists and support staff who work in onsite laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is dedicated to strengthening science education, and preparing and motivating students to pursue science or science-related professions. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting www.vai.org.

Beth Hinshaw Hall, beth.hinshawhall@vai.org, 616.234.5519