Dick DeVos is a Michigan based businessman, entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist. For a long time now, Mr. DeVos has been in the forefront to contribute to various organizations engaging in charitable causes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is estimated that together with his wife, Mrs. Betsy DeVos, they have contributed $139 million since they began philanthropic initiatives. For instance, in 2015, they donated $11.6 million to various charities according to information found on their foundation’s website. In fact, the larger DeVos’ family which is headed by Rich DeVos (Dick’s father) donated close to $104 million to charities in 2015. The family is recognized across the United States for its philanthropic donations.
Dick & Betsy’s donations have given priority to education followed by Arts and Culture. These were the programs which they funded heavily in 2015. According to Mr. DeVos, the current system of education in the United States is not capable of helping students realized their dream after completing school. Therefore, there was a need to seek other options like charter schools and educational choices in order to bring equity in the system. He further added that the quality of education accessed by students is based on the ZIP code where their homes are located. The educational choice fronted by Dick DeVos and his wife is supposed to address this inequality and also the non-performance of public educational institutions.
According to Mr. John Truscott, the spokesperson for the family, the report was a reflection of the how the family is transparent about their financial giving. He added that the report was still to be made public regardless of the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the Cabinet. Dick insists their aim is to impact positively the lives of other individuals, especially the less fortunate in the society. Potter’s House and Grand Rapids Christian School are some of the major schools that have benefited a lot from the couple’s donations. A few years ago, they launched an aviation-themed high school at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. In 2016, the school graduated the first group of students.
Changing the Face of Grand Rapids
Dick & Betsy DeVos are credited for transforming the face of Grand Rapids, more so economically. Through various programs and projects funded by the couple and their associates, the city has expanded tremendously. Dick DeVos was involved in the formation of the Grand Action, which comprises a group of leading business executives responsible for initiating numerous projects such as the DeVos Performance Hall, Van Adel Arena, Grand Rapids City Market and others. Currently, Dick serves as the Windquest Group’s president. He also held executive roles at Amway Corporation and Orlando Magic. He began his career in 1974 at the family owned business the Amway Corporation.