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Donor Bandstra

Ken Bandstra

The notion of giving back to the community profoundly and powerfully shaped Ken Bandstra as a young person. "It came from my grandfather," he says without hesitation. Ken grew up in Chicago. His family wasn't particularly wealthy, but his grandfather was a very successful homebuilder. "My grandfather made it clear to my mother, his only child, that he believed inherited wealth wasn't good for children. He told her that we needed to make it on our own," Ken said. True to the grandfather's word, much of his wealth went to charities when he died. "It struck me. I was really proud of him. When you see someone you respect doing something like that, it leaves a lifelong impression. Giving back is what we are supposed to do," Ken said.

He moved to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College, where he majored in education and minored in music and business. In 1979 he established Bandstra Business Services to offer accounting, consulting and payroll services. He is semi-retired now. "My business was, still is, in Grand Rapids, and I feel I have to give back to the community that helped me be successful," Ken said.

His estate plan includes a percentage of his assets going to Grand Rapids Community Foundation to support education and the arts. "Those are the two things I'm most interested in. Education is important and I've always loved the arts, especially music. They are difficult areas to pinpoint money toward unless you have a broad-based organization with the people and places to use the money. That's why I chose the Community Foundation. I like the fact it is all about community and that it has donor flexibility," Ken said.

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