History of Philanthropy
As Founder and Chairman of the company that bears his name, Art Van Elslander’s vision in business and life is progressive and limitless. He has an unwavering commitment to superior customer satisfaction and to his 2800 employees, whom he has empowered with his endless support and trust.
Art Van Elslander’s capacity for giving seems to know no bounds. He makes giving back a priority, one he strives to instill in all who surround him, from family and friends to business associates and employees.
Be Thankful. In 1990, when the annual Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit was in financial peril, Van Elslander made a historic donation that saved the Michigan tradition, which is now known as America’s Thanksgiving Parade®. Since then, the company has been a major contributor to the event each year. And in 2009, to honor his strong and consistent support and Art Van Furniture’s 50th anniversary, Van Elslander was invited to serve as Co–Grand Marshal of the Parade, which featured the float, "Knights of the Charitable Roundtable."
Have a Heart. Van Elslander strongly believes in supporting those with disabilities and education for underprivileged youth, the homeless and countless others in need. That’s why Art Van Furniture is proud to host and sponsor events and nonprofit organizations that help the community at large, including food drives for Gleaners Community Food Bank, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and The Salvation Army, as well as blood drives for the American Red Cross.
Health Matters. Cancer and ophthalmology are also areas receiving Van Elslander’s assistance. He has made significant contributions to the Van Elslander Cancer Center, the Van Elslander Family Pavilion and the Van Elslander Neurosciences Center at St. John Health System, the Van Elslander Center at St. Vincent De Paul and the David Hermelin Brain Cancer Center at Henry Ford Health System. Currently, Mr. Van Elslander sits on the board of the St. John Health Foundation and CNBS Financial.
A New Challenge. 2013 marks the fifth year of the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge, which enriches Michigan with a $1 million donation supporting 150 charitable organizations throughout the state. These organizations provide assistance to children, health and human services. Each organization receives grants up to $50,000, positioned as "Challenge Grants" to maximize giving potential.
Special Initiatives. Two important charities have each received a $1 Million grant this year, to further their crucial work in Michigan: Focus:HOPE, providing training and a helping hand to those in need, and Forgotten Harvest, who’s unique program turns every $1 into 5 meals for the hungry. Our contribution provides nearly 14,000 meals each day in Southeast Michigan.
Take Part. Everyone has a role to play when it comes to helping, and it only takes a little effort to make a big impact. It is a philosophy that has served Art Van Furniture and Van Elslander well in life and in business. And it is one that we will continue to live out and entrust the next generation to uphold. Visit our Charity Challenge site or our Events page to see how you can participate today.