VAI receives $3M gift from unexpected benefactor


Arthur Jabury and Dorothy Broekstra. Courtesy VAI

The Van Andel Institute has received a $3-million bequest from a man who admired the organization from afar.

Grand Rapids-based VAI said last week that it received the surprise donation to support the expansion of its Science Academy educational programs from a Grand Rapids-area resident upon his death last October.


The gift was donated to VAI on behalf of Arthur Jabury, who had no prior connection with VAI before his death.

Jabury grew up on the southwest side of Grand Rapids, graduated from Grand Rapids Union High School and served in the U.S. Army, before earning a business administration degree from the University of Michigan in 1949.

Jabury went on to have a career in accounting and personnel at General Motors Fisher Body on Alpine Avenue NW in Grand Rapids and was described by VAI as a “well-respected visionary,” “inspirational leader” and “successful stock market investor.”

Dorothy Broekstra, a longtime companion of Jabury, said he researched everything he went into and became very interested in the Medical Mile and what VAI had done to make it happen.

“He believed in the education and research happening at the Institute, especially since he himself was faced with heart and lung disease,” Broekstra said.

Love Collins III, VP of development, communications and marketing at VAI, said the institute usually has a pre-existing relationship with a benefactor with a gift of this magnitude.

“What a wonderful way to discover the institute has made a strong positive impression on someone’s life,” Collins said. “We are very grateful for (Jabury’s) generosity.”

The gift

David Van Andel, chairman and CEO of VAI, said Jabury’s gift will have an impact for generations.

“Benefactors like (Jabury) leave behind a powerful legacy, a legacy that not only supports our educational programs, but also focuses on empowering young minds with the ability to change the future of scientific discovery,” Van Andel said.

Jabury’s $3-million gift will go toward funding the VAI Science Academy’s work in changing how science is taught in the U.S.

The Science Academy provides educational opportunities, programs and tools for students, teachers and local community members: QPOE2 Step Book and iPad app; NexGen Inquiry; professional development; and Out-of-School Time Elementary Cohort.

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