Hooker, Robert and Judy
By Jennifer Morrison (MI-Stories.com)
S.O.U.L. of Philanthropy
Both Robert and Judy Hooker were born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and graduated from Calvin College. Early in their careers, Robert worked for Peter Cook in the automobile import business, and Judy joined the Dyer-Ives Foundation. They became very active in philanthropic circles in Grand Rapids as volunteers and as givers.
Robert Hooker was born in Grand Rapids in 1930 and grew up in Denver, Colorado, where his father was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Robert came back to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College and then enlisted in the Air Force, serving four years before returning to finish his degree. He then earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In the early 1960s, he joined Import Motors, working for Peter Cook as the advertising manager. Hooker’s education and business sense were very valuable at Import Motors, and Peter Cook decided to make him a partner. Volkswagen, whose cars the company was distributing, opposed this move and took back this function of their business. In 1977, the men formed Mazda Distributors Great Lakes, which was also a foreign car distributorship.
Judy Hooker was born and raised in Grand Rapids, attended Christian schools, and earned an AB degree from Calvin College. Her father owned Stevens Advertising. After Calvin, Judy taught at Mulick Park School and then raised three children. Instead of returning to teaching, she next became director for the Dyer-Ives Foundation and worked for John Hunting. Dyer-Ives is mainly concerned with conservation of the environment and community building.
Robert and Judy Hooker have served at a variety of Grand Rapids nonprofit and charity organizations. Robert Hooker played a leading community-building role in Grand Rapids through Grand Action, and Judy made major contributions to local and state foundations. Both have volunteered extensively in the community and supported Grand Valley State University and the symphony.
Ties to the Philanthropic Sector
Robert Hooker’s education and experience in business and public relations got him involved on a large scale with Grand Rapids community development, including the Grand Action group. He chaired the fundraising efforts for Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place convention center. He co-chaired the Spectrum Health Heart Center campaign. In addition to his service, he and Judy gave money towards these efforts. Judy’s work with the Dyer-Ives Foundation led to an involvement with the Council of Michigan Foundations, and eventually the couple established a small foundation of their own. Both have been active supporters of Grand Valley State University and the Grand Rapids Symphony. They have also volunteered or served on the boards of a wide variety of other charitable organizations in the community.
Key Related Ideas
Born in Grand Rapids and raised in the Christian tradition, the Hookers are dedicated to tithing, giving back, and philanthropy. Robert had success in the automobile import business, and Judy served through charitable foundations. Both have done a considerable amount of volunteer work and community building.
Important People Related to the Topic
- Peter Cook: the owner of Import Motors and Mazda Great Lakes, Cook was Robert Hooker’s employer, mentor, and friend
- John Hunting: John is the son of David Dyer Hunting, Sr., one of the founders of Steelcase. John founded the Dyer-Ives Foundation where Judy worked.
- Joseph Stevens: Owner of Stevens Advertising, Judy’s father was an inspiration to both Bob and Judy in regards to giving back and philanthropy
Related Nonprofit Organizations
- The Dyer-Ives Foundation: The Dyer-Ives Foundation mission is to build capacity in those grassroots, neighborhood organizations and related efforts that address issues of systemic poverty or diminish a sense of isolation among residents of the central city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. http://www.dyer-ives.org/
- Grand Action is a non-profit organization that identifies and supports downtown building and revitalization projects, including the Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place convention center, Grand Rapids Civic Theater, Michigan State University Medical School, and others. http://grandaction.org
- The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Eight concert series and extensive education and community service programs provide the community with performances designed for young children through adults, featuring a diverse repertoire. The Symphony sponsors the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, and the Classical Orchestra. It also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. (http://www.grsymphony.org)
Related Web Sites
- The Council of Michigan Foundations: This association of over 350 grantmaking organizations work together to strengthen, promote, and increase philanthropy in Michigan. http://www.michiganfoundations.org/s_cmf/index.asp
- DeVos Place: Find convention center information at http://www.devosplace.org/ .
- Grand Valley State University: Grand Valley offers a strong liberal education, fostering critical thinking, creative problem solving, and cultural understanding. The mission is to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. The university website is at http://www.gvsu.edu/
- The Van Andel Arena: Find details about news and events at the arena at http://vanandelarena.com/.
Bibliography and Internet Sources
Clipping file and oral history in the SOUL of Philanthropy collection in the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library
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