CF Community Partner Spotlight: Van Andel Institute

Each year, Crystal Flash supports nearly 200 different organizations and events across the communities where our employee-owners live and work. Being a Michigan-based company, getting involved in our local communities is personal.

As we all know, nonprofit organizations have been significantly impacted by the effects of COVID-19. In-person events and vital fundraising have been interrupted. Adding to this challenge, many nonprofit organizations have seen the pandemic only add to the need and demand for their services.

As part of Crystal Flash’s ongoing community involvement initiatives, we recently formed a partnership with Van Andel Institute to help support their important research and programs.


Van Andel Institute

Established in Grand Rapids in 1996 by the Van Andel family, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through biomedical research and education innovations. VAI is currently home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. VAI scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatments.

Van Andel Institute for Education, the education division of VAI, is dedicated to creating classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive. It is transforming education by providing K–12 programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities and offering engaging programs for students and transformative professional development and instructional tools for teachers.

Where higher education is concerned, Van Andel Institute Graduate School develops future leaders in biomedical research through an intense, problem-focused Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology. By combining rigorous, problem-based coursework with extensive experience in laboratories led by VAI’s expert faculty, the Graduate School prepares students for productive careers in biomedical research and beyond.


The Crystal Flash/VAI Partnership

Crystal Flash has three primary areas of focus when it comes to its philanthropic efforts, agriculture/rural life support, family utility assistance and cancer research/assistance. The incredible work of the scientists and researchers at Van Andel Institute, in the pursuit of potential cures and treatments for cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases, makes it an ideal partner for Team CF.

Last week, Crystal Flash was honored to serve as the Presenting Sponsor of VAI’s annual Curiosity Hour event. This year, due to the pandemic, the team at the Institute took the event virtual and included several special guests like WOTV personality, Maranda, and Celebrity Chef/Owner of the award-winning restaurant, Amore Trattoria Italiana, Jenna Arcidiacono. Participants rounded up various common household items and used them to conduct a series of educational and fun science experiments online, via Zoom and under the guidance of VAI expert educators. The evening concluded with participants assembling their own pizza to bake using pizza kits provided by Chef Jenna. This successful initiative is just the latest example of VAI’s spirited brand of creativity and its commitment to education.

Crystal Flash looks forward to our continued partnership with, and support of, VAI. To learn more, or to find out how to support Van Andel Institute, visit


Photos courtesy of Van Andel Institute