Jun. 27  —  Jun. 28, 2024

VAI Open Corporate Charity Pickleball Event

Get ready to combine your new favorite sport with biomedical research as the VAI Open — Pickleball Charity Event returns! Join us for a kickoff dinner at MDRD on June 27 and the tournament on June 28 on the rooftop of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

The round robin tournament features morning, afternoon, and evening sessions, along with novice and intermediate/advanced divisions. Find your partner and register to compete for bragging rights while raising funds for biomedical research.

Along with entry into the tournament, you’ll get access to an “Intro to Pickleball” camp package for up to 16 players. This two-hour experience can be held at a time of your choosing, and you can bring coworkers, employees or friends to learn from the pickleball experts at 20×44 Sports.

The evening before the Open, players are invited to an exclusive dinner and auction at MDRD. In addition, all players will receive a premium gift package.

All proceeds directly fund biomedical research and science education programs at Van Andel Institute.

June 27— VAI Open Dinner at MDRD


  • 6:00 pm Guest arrival and cocktail reception
  • 6:30 pm Silent auction opens
  • 7:00 pm Seating for dinner
  • 7:05 pm Welcome remarks by George Aquino
  • 7:10 pm Remarks by Carol Van Andel
  • 7:13 pm Remarks by David Van Andel
  • 9:00 pm Silent auction closes
  • 9:15 pm Event ends

June 28 VAI Open at Amway Rooftop Pickleball Courts – 4th floor of Amway Grand Plaza Hotel


  • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Beginner/Intermediate Bracket (2.5-3.4 rating), 8 teams, medals for top 3 teams
  • Box lunches and beverages served
  • Awards Ceremony for Beginner/Intermediate Bracket
  • 12:30 pm Guest arrival and registration for Advanced Bracket
  • 1:00 - 4:00 pm Advanced Bracket (3.5+ rating), 8 teams, medals for top 3 teams
  • Boxed lunches and beverages served
  • Awards ceremony for Advanced Bracket

June 27th Dinner Menu

Cocktail Reception

Welcome Drink:
tequila, coconut rum, lime juice, chai tea syrup, pineapple juice

Passed Tapas:

crispy iberico belly, watercress, tomato jam, paprika ciabatta, aioli

compressed watermelon, avocado, candied citrus

First Course: Family Style Tapas

braised ox-tail, onion marmalade, mustard caviar

cucumber, sweet peppers, coconut cheese, radish, salsa verde

goat cheese stuffed piquillo peppers, dates, pistachio, and sherry reduction

Second Course: Soup

mango, cucumber, tomato, tajin, sweet corn

Third Course: Entrée (Choice of)

LOMO CON ESPARRAGOS seared beef tenderloin, confit marble potatoes, grilled asparagus, ombra-asparagus sauce.

grilled chicken breast, king trumpet, leek, sweet potato

branzino, rosemary-citrus bomba rice, fingerling potato, heirloom tomatoes, sauce maltaise.

AVINYO Petillant Muscat de Frontignan Blend – Penedès

GRANBAZAN ‘Etiqueta Verde’ Albariño – Rías Baixas

CATENA Malbec – Mendoza, ARG 

Fourth Course: Dessert

EL LIMON yuzu white chocolate mousse, meyer lemon marmalade, lime caviar, meringue

ARBOL DE CARAMELO brown butter almond cake, roja poached pears compote, toasted vanilla gelato, spun sugar

Beer City Open VIP Deck Passes and Swag
Two AHC Hospitality Owner’s Deck all-access passes, plus two Beer City Open hats, towels and wristbands.
Value: $4,100 | Starting Bid: $2,050

Children’s Pickleball Lesson Package
Two 60-minute lessons at RoofTop Pickleball Courts atop the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
Value: $120 | Starting Bid: $60

Children’s Swimming Lessons Package
Two 45-minute lessons at a pool location of winner’s choice.
Value: $80 | Starting Bid: $40

El Balcón Experience at MDRD           
The most exclusive dining experience in Grand Rapids at 27 stories above the city. Dine, sip, and soak up the views of Grand Rapids from the 27th floor private balcony, El Balcón. This one-of-a-kind experience features an off-the-menu six-course dinner from our culinary team, unique cocktail creations from our lead bartender and exquisite wines. Prepare to indulge in an enhanced narrative of Chef Erika’s MDRD menu while soaking up the most exclusive views of the city.
Value: $1,200 | Starting Bid: $600

Holbrook Pickleball Gear Package
Two Holbrook Rewind pickleball paddles, two paddle covers, and one pickleball tote bag.
Value: $209 | Starting Bid: $105

jojo+lo “His + Hers” Pickleball Gear Package
Contains one hat, two shirts, and two sweatshirts for each.
Value: $400 | Starting Bid: $200

One-night Stay & Couples Massage at the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton 
Enjoy overnight accommodations in one of the hotels’ Riverview King or 2-Queen Guest Rooms with a 60-minute couple’s massage included in our new Celeste Salon & Spa. The package includes all taxes and fees, including self-parking.
Value: $750 | Starting Bid: $375

Private Pickleball Lesson from Beer City Open Professional
To take place during the Beer City Open – July 9-14, 2024.
Value: $250 | Starting Bid: $125

Private Wine Education & Tasting at Right Bank Wines at the Amway Grand Plaza
Enjoy a one-hour private wine education and tasting for you and one guest with Michael Bryant, Sommelier and Supervisor of Right Bank Wines at the Amway Grand Plaza. The experience will include four pours of elevated wine. A perfect start to a date night downtown!
Value: $250 | Starting Bid: $125

RoofTop Pickleball Team Experience
Enjoy up to a three-hour rental of three courts at the RoofTop Pickleball Courts atop the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. This package is great for corporate or team outings or friends to explore and enjoy the game of pickleball while bonding with your peers and/or friends. The package will comfortably accommodate up to 16 guests. 
Value: $350 | Starting Bid: $175

Woodrows Duckpin Private Rental
Enjoy up to a three-hour private rental of the Upper Alley at Woodrows Duckpin inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel for you and up to 40 guests
Value: $1,500 | Starting Bid: $750

Event Details

Venue: Amway Grand Plaza 225 Pearl Street NW Grand Rapids

Contact Info:

Email: Sarah Rollman

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors!

Dinner Sponsor

Court Sponsor

Paddle Sponsors

  • Franco and Alessandra Bianchi

  • Kurt and Jena Lacks

  • Tim and Kim Long

Pickleball Sponsor