Van is the founder of Generations Humanitarian. He served as executive director from 2008 – 2016. In 2012 he worked in Global Philanthropy at the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C.
His interests and research include Latin American and global philanthropy, voluntarism, religious philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and civil society. Past research includes best-practice interventions for street children, and child trafficking for slavery, sexual exploitation, and organs. He has worked in the sector for 17 years in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Honduras. He has published several peer-reviewed articles, and his first book on Latin American philanthropy, Generosidad en México, was published in late 2013 where he co-authored several chapters.
He obtained a M.S.W. degree from the University of Utah, a M.S. degree in Nonprofit/NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has taught philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, Beijing Normal University, University of Utah, Westminster College, and the Utah Nonprofits Association.