The Van Andel Legacy

Jay and Betty Van Andel

Jay and Betty Van Andel couldn’t have foreseen the course their lives would take.

Armed with a strong belief in family and hard work, they began with the resources at hand to chart a better life for themselves and their children and for the many individuals whose lives they influenced along the way.

Through the Van Andel Institute, Jay and Betty Van Andel have left a legacy that will touch the health and lives of future generations. The institute is a reflection of their generosity and concern for their fellow man.

Van Andel, Jay & Betty, 1996

Van Andel Institute Founders, Jay and Betty Van Andel

The four Van Andel children Nan, Steven, David and Barbara are committed to perpetuating this legacy. They were raised to share their parents’ spiritual values and work ethic, and they believe in working toward things that benefit their neighbors, their community, and beyond.

Years of dedication reflect the personal energy and the sense of family Jay and Betty brought to their many interests, including the Amway Corporation. A phenomenal success story of the American entrepreneurial spirit, Amway was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos, and its growth in the following decades is a testament to an unflagging effort and a vision that created a means for millions of people to build dreams, achieve goals and help others help themselves.

As Amway’s presence reached around the world, so did Jay and Betty’s reputations. In 1992, President George Bush appointed Jay to serve as the United States Ambassador and Commissioner General to the Genoa Expo ’92 in Genoa, Italy. He has also served as Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Director of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, a member of the U.S.O. World of Governors, and North American Chairman of the Netherlands American Bicentennial Commission.

Betty was motivated to advance the arts at home in Western Michigan. Her commitment to the opera did much to bring Opera Grand Rapids into the limelight. One of only two opera companies in the state, Opera Grand Rapids now has a greater sophistication in its performances and management. Betty also served as a long-standing board member of Pine Rest Christian Hospital, one of the largest mental health centers in the Midwest. 

Together, their efforts to help people are farsighted and heartfelt. Local hospitals, churches, cultural and educational facilities, and many other organizations have been blessed by their generosity. With Van Andel Institute, Jay and Betty will leave the world a lasting legacy benefiting an untold number of people.