Jay & Betty Van Andel
Legacy Awards Gala

Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards Gala
Thursday, November 9, 2023

Join us for the 15th annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards Gala honoring outstanding leaders who have inspired others with their personal and professional investments in the Grand Rapids and West Michigan community past, present, and future. The Legacy Awards Gala continues to share the inspiring stories of leadership, as well as contribute to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and help to continue the vision Jay & Betty Van Andel had for the Museum: to serve as a vital cornerstone of the Grand Rapids community.

Event Co-Chairs:  Dave & Carol Van Andel, Linsey Gleason, and Jim Williams.

The 15th Annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards Gala

This award is presented to individuals who demonstrate a lifetime of dedication to our community in the philanthropic spirit of Jay & Betty Van Andel. We recognize their unwavering commitment to developing educational organizations and educational experiences and inspiring others to action.

In the heart of Grand Rapids, the philanthropic legacy of Peter and Emajean (Pat) Cook flourishes, memorialized through the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation. After attending the Davenport McLachlan Institute, Peter ventured into the import automobile sector, demonstrating keen business acumen. He often remarked, “Making [moneyJ is work, but giving it away is fun. It’s a blessing to be able to help people.” This philosophy illuminated his and Pat’s journey of benevolence.

The two married in 1940 and together they raised a family deeply intertwined with the Grand Rapids community. Beyond their family, their generosity became a beacon, touching various sectors: education, health sciences, the arts, and community development.

Peter’s unwavering commitment to the community crystallized when he spearheaded the effort to bring the 1928 Spillman Carousel to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Acquired in 1982 from Pennsylvania’s Lakewood Amusement Park, by 1994 it found its home in the Cook Carousel Pavilion, delighting countless visitors as a museum highlight.

Their benevolence reached notable institutions such as the Grand Valley’s Hauenstei n Center, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Aquinas College. Each contribution embodied their ethos of giving, a spirit kept alive by the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation. Today, the Foundation stands as a testament to their dedication and profound impact on Grand Rapids.

This award is given to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the greater West Michigan region supporting philanthropic organizations, and contributing to the cultural, educational, and economic health of our community.

Ron Yob is a pillar in Grand Rapids, significantly impacting Indigenous youth. He’s descended from Chief Maish-Ke-Aw-She, a signatory of the 1855 Treaty of Detroit. A local, Ron graduated from Catholic Central High and pursued a teaching degree at Grand Valley State University. Observing high dropout rates among Native youth in Grand Rapids Public Schools, he intervened, offering personalized teachi ng, blending essential subjects with practical skills and wisdom from elders and youth alike.

More than a teacher, Ron inspired students to delve into their heritage, engage with tribes, and uplift their communities. Despite retiring from an illustrious teaching career, he continues to share knowledge as an adjunct professor at Aquinas College, focusing on the Indigenous People of the Great Lakes.

Ron’s leadership is vast. As Chairman of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, he’s spoken before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, upholding a strong voice in the Native community. He’s also active in the Grand River Restoration Committee.

Ron’s dedication extends to the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM). Passionate about preserving indigenous history, he’s worked closely with the GRPM, overseeing the Norton Indian Mounds. Recognized for his expertise, he was appointed to the Norton Indian Mounds Commission and holds a seat on the GRPM Board of Trustees. Ron’s mission? To ensure the region’s rich indigenous history is cherished and shared with future generations.

Named after one of the Museum’s most dynamic volunteers, Casey Wondergem, this award recognizes public service and serves to encourage continued charitable activity.

Brian Hauenstein, a West Michigan native and Rotarian, is deeply rooted in community advocacy and service. Educated at West Catholic (’87) and Aquinas College (’92), his journey also led him to Kyoto, J apan, as a Catholic Missionary. For over two decades, he excelled in marketing roles at Meijer and GE Capital/Synchrony Financial, later transitioning to senior care. Through Oasis Senior Advisors of Grand Rapids, Brian offers expert guidance on senior living solutions.

His profound respect for his grand father, Ralph Hauenstein, ignited a desire to showcase Ralph’s leadership beyond just military achievements. Brian approached the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) with this vision, culminating in an exhibition that celebrated Ralph’s multifaceted contributions. A testament to his dedication, Brian even secured a rare Enigma machine for the display.

Brian’s bond with the GRPM deepened thereafter. He’s actively engaged in museum events, broadens community outreach, and generously loaned his personal collection of original matchbox cars for an exhibit. Outside the GRPM, Brian’s influence is widespread. He contributes to the Michigan Heroes Museum, St. Mary’s Foundation, and leads initiatives like the Senior Care Coalition and Senior Advocacy Council of Grand Rapids.

Residing in West Michigan with his wife, Yukiko, and their three children, Brian’s commitment to community and heritage is unwavering, making him a beacon in both leadership and service.

Program Details

6:00 p.m. | Cocktails & Passed Appetizers, Raffle, Wine Pull

7:00 p.m. | Dinner is Served

7:45 p.m. | Awards Presentation

“The Casey” Award
Brian Hauenstein
Dave & Carol Van Andel Leadership Award
Ronald Yob
Jay & Betty Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation

How can you make a difference?
with Megan Rydecki, Board Member

8:15 p.m. | Continue to Explore the GRPM: Exhibits and 1928 Spillman Carousel rides open to guests.

9:00 p.m. | Raffle and Wine Pull Sales Close
Announcement of Raffle winners*

*Winners do not need to be present

To attend the 15th Annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards, please contact Katie VanDoeselaar kvandoeselaar@grpm.org or call 616.929.1736.


To become a donor, visit the link below. 

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Tressa Brondyke, tbrondyke@grpm.org or call 616.929.1704. 

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Sponsored By:


David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation logo



Marlin Feyen & Ruth Posthumus

J.C. & Tammy Huizenga

Print Partner

Entertainment Sponsor

Food Partners

Food Partners

Revisit the 14th Annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards Gala