About The Gerber Foundation

Our Mission

The mission of The Gerber Foundation, to enhance the quality of life of infants and young children in nutrition, care, and development, has remained the guiding beacon for Foundation giving throughout its history. Accordingly, priority is given to projects whose primary beneficiaries are young children from birth to three years of age.

The Gerber Foundation expects its grant dollars to significantly impact issues facing infants and young children. Through our grant-making efforts, we are committed to improving the health and well-being of the youngest members of our society. The Foundation maintains three primary focus areas for its grant-making:

Primary Focus Areas

The primary focus, supported by over 70% of grant-making, is applied research focused on health and nutritional issues affecting infants and young children. Research projects aimed at finding solutions to common every-day issues and problems regarding children’s health and nutrition are sought. Of particular interest are those offering a substantial promise of meaningful advances in prevention and treatment of diseases and those with broad applicability to the general population.
West Michigan grants are focused on youth programs supporting the growth and development of children from 0-18 years of age within 4 counties in West Michigan – Lake, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana Counties. Specific areas of focus within youth programming include early childhood growth and development to assure children are ready for school by age 5; development of parenting skills; STEM education; health and dental care; and several historically supported programs such as 4-H, summer camps, and general support programs.
College scholarships are provided to students graduating from select high schools in Newaygo, Muskegon, and Oceana Counties. Students must be graduating seniors at the time of application. Scholarships support education beyond high school in traditional colleges or universities as well as trade schools or support for certification exams.

History of The Gerber Foundation

Daniel Gerber, Sr

Established in 1952 as the Gerber Baby Foods Fund by Daniel Gerber, Sr. and Gerber Products Company, the Foundation provided $14,700 in support to various organizations during the first year of operation. While the Gerber name may imply a strict interest in infant nutrition, Dan Gerber felt a commitment to a much broader range of activities. In those early years, grants were provided to such organizations as the American Red Cross, Americas Future, 4-H Clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Fire Protection Association, among others. Small grants were also awarded to various community agencies within communities where Gerber Products Company had a presence. Beginning in 1953, scholarships were provided to a wide variety of institutions across the United States as well as to dependents of Gerber Products Company Associates.

Dan Gerber’s interest in agriculture, education, infant care, and youth programs is evident through the long list of donations made in these early years and throughout the Foundation’s history. These interests are still reflected in the Foundation’s grant-making programs today.

The name of the Foundation was changed to The Gerber Companies Foundation in 1985 to more accurately reflect the status of the company with its many subsidiaries. In 1994, The Foundation became a separately endowed, private foundation when Gerber Products Company merged with Sandoz Ltd. In 1997, the name was changed to The Gerber Foundation.

Board of Directors

Babara J. Ivens

President

Newago, MI

Fernando Flores-New

Vice-President

Houston, TX

Stan M. VanderRoest

Treasurer

Grandville, MI

Tracy A. Baker

Secretary

Irons, MI

William L. Bush, MD

Byron Center, MI

Randall Dyk, MD

Kalamazoo, MI

Michael G. Ebert

Naperville, IL

Leigh Anne Higgins

Grant, MI

Raymond Hutchinson, MD

Chelsea, MI

Randy A. Puff

Fremont, MI

Steven W. Poole

Grand Rapids, MI

Robert Schumacher, MD

Ann Arbor, MI

Amy Sapsford

Melbourne, KY

Wendy Taylor

Grand Rapids, MI

Foundation Staff

Sara Hohnstein, MSW

Foundation Director

Sally Hall, MA

Program & Office Administrator

Annual Reports

2023 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

2021 Annual Report