A.A. Van Elslander Foundation

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A.A. Van Elslander Foundation
Courtesy of the A.A. Van Elslander Foundation

The A.A. Van Elslander Foundation is based in Birmingham and endowed by the late Art Van Elslander, founder of Art Van Furniture and its affiliated stores. Van Elslander passed away in 2018, but the foundation carries on his legacy of providing support to Michigan-based charities benefiting children and health and human services. It works to help those with impaired eyesight by supporting medical research; supports education and treatment for those suffering with substance addiction; and improves the lives of children and adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. It seeks out organizations that are entrepreneurial-minded and work to be self-sustainable. Van Elslander saved America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, produced by The Parade Co. in Detroit, from financial ruin in 1990. Van Elslander was the son of a Belgian immigrant and was born and raised in Detroit. He opened a small furniture store in 1959 and, by the time he sold the company to private equity company T.H. Lee in early 2017, Art Van had expanded to five states and had more than 100 store locations.

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