Alvin and Hylda Tuuk believed in the American dream. Second generation Dutch immigrants, they met and married after Al served his country in World War II. Together, they raised a family, started a successful business and later became examples of the American dream in the West Michigan community. People of modest means, the couple’s drive for a better life was shaped equally by the Great Depression and the experiences they lived through during World War II. They worked hard and instilled in their four children the value of education, the power of American capitalism and the importance of charitable giving. In 1985, Hylda lost Al to prostate cancer before they had the chance to enjoy their golden years. Committed to making a difference, she arranged to give a portion of her estate to fund research that could give hope to people facing this difficult disease.
In February 2017, Hylda passed away at the age of 93. She left a generous planned gift that will benefit prostate cancer research pilot studies in the laboratories of Dr. Xiaohong Li and Dr. Bart Williams.
“Growing up and living for much of their lives in West Michigan, both my parents were impressed by the business success and the generous spirit of the Van Andel family. My siblings and I were proud to make a gift to benefit the Institute’s cancer research on their behalf,” said Hylda and Al’s daughter, Mary Tuuk, vice president and chief compliance officer at Meijer. “Van Andel Institute has been an incredibly positive force both in the health science community and the community as a whole. It has been a tremendous catalyst for growth in the region while making an impact on a global scale. It is heartwarming to know that our gift will go directly to fund important research being conducted right here in Grand Rapids.”
Van Andel Institute has been an incredibly positive force both in the health science community and the community as a whole. It has been a tremendous catalyst for growth in the region while making an impact on a global scale. It is heartwarming to know that our gift will go directly to fund important research being conducted right here in Grand Rapids. - Mary Tuuk
In recognition of Alvin and Hylda Tuuk’s legacy of generosity, they were posthumously inducted as members of Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) Society of Hope. The Society of Hope recognizes individuals who have notified us they are including VAI in their will or other deferred giving plan. The Tuuks’ spirit of purposeful giving will live on in the work of the Institute’s scientists and the impact they have on improving the health of current and future generations.
Interested in learning more about the Society of Hope and planned giving at Van Andel Institute? Visit our Society of Hope page, vai.org/plannedgiving or please contact Brett Holleman at Brett.Holleman@vai.org or 616.234.5045.