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2018 Annual Report


DONOR PROFILE: ALVIN AND HYLDA TUUK — A LEGACY OF GENEROSITY 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 TUUK FAMILY 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 donate 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. “It is heartwarming to know that our gift will go directly to fund important research being conducted right here in Grand Rapids.” — Mary Tuuk “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.” 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 another 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. DONOR PROFILE: DUKE SUWYN — A SENSE OF HOPE Duke Suwyn is one of Van Andel Institute’s most committed donors, and his belief in philanthropy and the Institute’s mission comes from a very personal place — a life-long love. When Duke Suwyn first met his wife, Sue, at a church function, his world opened up and he was never the same. Suwyn grew up on a family farm in the lush Michigan countryside. Sue was from Chicago — the city of big shoulders — and was filled with ambition, drive and determination. “The first time I saw her, I knew she was unlike anyone I’d ever met,” Suwyn said. “She was extremely talented, gregarious and full of life. And from that moment on, she was my mentor, coach and my teammate.” Sue and Duke got married, started a family, built successful careers and discovered their love for giving back to their community. Together, they were active in their children’s school, Ada Christian, and, guided by a deep faith, they served on the school’s various foundations and boards. Through their philanthropic work, they met community leaders David and Carol Van Andel, who also volunteered and gave of their time and talent to benefit the school. “They were some of the most hardworking, focused, visionary people I’d ever met. They didn’t just come with ideas — they really rolled up their sleeves and helped us improve the school for the better,” Suwyn said. Impressed by the Van Andels’ generosity, the Suwyns decided to get involved with Van Andel Institute and soon became some of the Institute’s most ardent advocates and donors. Duke pursued a career in commercial real estate and became an executive with Colliers International. In his leadership position, he encouraged the company to focus a portion of its charitable giving on the Institute in support of research. The gift, totaling more than 0,000, provided Institute scientists with the funds to facilitate research into rare childhood diseases. In 2016, Suwyn’s connection to the Institute became extraordinarily personal when Sue was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive type of brain cancer. Suddenly, and without warning, the woman who gave his life meaning was facing an incredible battle. “When Sue was diagnosed, we knew we needed help, and we felt fortunate to live in a community where we have these great hospitals and research centers right here in our city,” Suwyn said. “The facilities in Grand Rapids on the Medical Mile are just amazing, and when you go into these places, you don’t go in there thinking negatively, you go in with such a sense of hope.” During this difficult time, both Sue and Duke were comforted with the idea that the Institute’s scientists were working on new treatments that might one day help others affected by cancer. Sue passed away in August 2017, and one of her last wishes was that memorial gifts be given to the two organizations that were held closest to her heart. “There were two places Sue wanted people to think about when they thought of her — Ada Christian and Van Andel Institute,” Suwyn said. “When you see the passion that the Institute’s scientists have for their work, and you know that these scientists are going to work every day for the benefit of other people, you really can’t help but fall in love with this place.” DUKE SUWYN PHILANTHROPY 36 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2018 VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE ANNUAL REPORT 2018 | 37

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