Grand Rapids -- Less than a month after Jay Van Andel's death, his multi-million dollar foundation is being dissolved. The Amway co-founder died December 7. Last week his four children announced they would divide his estate and create their own foundations.
The Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation helped provide funding for 70 non-profit agencies, most of those in Grand Rapids. Now those groups will have to find other avenues of support.
Marjorie Kuipers runs the Grandville Avenue Academy of Arts where 2000 students are enrolled and learn art and dance. In 2004, she says, the academy received $10,000 in general operating support.
The week before Christmas she received a letter from the Van Andel Foundation, telling her that the $10,000 check would be the last she would get.
She wasn't alone. Every non-profit group the foundation gave money to received the same letter.
The Van Andel Institute released a statement today explaining the decision to dissolve the foundation was Jay Van Andel's wish. The assets from the foundation will be used to create four separate foundations in the names of Jay and Betty Van Andel's children.
Marjorie Kuipers says she thought something like this might happen when Jay Van Andel passed away but says she's not worried, "We'd hoped to continue to receive support from the Van Andel Foundation but if that doesn't happen it's not going to be the end of the world for us."
In 2002 the Van Andel Foundation gave more than $11 million to the Van Andel Institute. The family says the institute will now get a yearly gift form the earnings of an endowment established by Jay Van Andel's estate.