Jay Van Andel

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Jay Van Andel, 80, (died in 2004) "the zealous entrepreneur who became a billionaire when he co-founded Amway...

"Inspired by free-market principles as a young man, Mr. Van Andel teamed with his childhood friend Richard DeVos on many early ventures...

"Mr. Van Andel and DeVos were among the biggest philanthropists in the country, including gifts for civic restoration projects in Grand Rapids and the creation of a foundation to support charities, hospitals and schools. They also once underwrote the National Symphony Orchestra on a $250,000 European tour and lavished money on conservative Republican causes.

"Mr. Van Andel was chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1979 and 1980. In the late 1970s, Amway bought the Mutual Broadcasting System, with its 950 affiliated radio stations, to provide what he called a "balanced" political viewpoint. The radio system was sold in 1985.

"Mr. Van Andel, who saw himself as a clean-living, Christian fundamentalist, also gave more than $500,000 to an eponymous creationist scientific institute in the desert of northern Arizona. One scientist there was trying to prove that God created the world in six days.

""For me, the greatest pleasure comes not from the endless acquisition of material things, but from creating wealth and giving it away," he wrote in his autobiography, "An Enterprising Life" (1998). "The task of every person on earth is to use everything he's given to the ultimate glory of God."...

"His wife of 52 years, Betty Hoekstra Van Andel, died this year at their home in the British Virgin Islands." [1]

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Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel Dies at 80, Washington Post, accessed February 23, 2009.
  2. Strategy Document January 1992, NED, accessed February 23, 2009.