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VAI Voice

The official blog of Van Andel Institute
10 Aug 2021

Engineering a lasting legacy: Prein&Newhof and Thomas and Garretta Newhof

West Michigan engineering firm Prein&Newhof marked 50 years in business in late 2019. To celebrate, company leaders wanted to find a way to honor the firm’s co-founder, Thomas Newhof, while giving back to the community. When they heard about Van Andel Institute’s Scored Grant Award Program, they chose to establish a research fund to support it.

“We learned from VAI’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Peter Jones how the Scored Grant Award Program works and that there were four scientists with great projects that needed support in 2020,” Newhof said. “We wanted to help make sure that they all could keep advancing their projects.”

Tom and Garretta Newhof

Highly competitive grants from federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are one of the main ways scientific research in the U.S. is funded. The Institute’s Scored Grant Award Program provides research funding to scientists whose federal grant applications scored very highly, but just below the threshold to receive federal funding. With an extra boost to conduct further research, scientists with promising projects get another chance to put forth a revised application for the next round of federal grants.

After learning about the groundbreaking research at VAI that benefits from the Scored Grant Award Program, Prein&Newhof established the Thomas & Garretta Newhof/Prein&Newhof Research Fund to support the program. The fund’s name also honors Tom’s wife, Garretta, for her unwavering commitment to the company’s success.

“At Prein&Newhof, we work with communities to provide Michigan residents with safe drinking water and wastewater systems — both of which are essential for public health,” said Thomas J. Newhof, the company’s president and son of Thomas and Garretta.

It’s here that Prein&Newhof’s goals overlap with VAI’s mission of improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations.

Prein&Newhof also invited its 150 employees to support the fund, and Thomas and Garretta contributed a generous gift of their own. The combined gifts from Prein&Newhof and matching dollars from VAI in 2020 are supporting the critical research pursued in the labs of Drs. Laird, Shi, Steensma and Wen.

For more information on how you can help fund groundbreaking research at Van Andel Institute, please contact Chief Philanthropy Officer Brett Holleman at brett.holleman@vai.org or 616-234-5045.