Dick DeVos: A Life of Charitable Contribution and Civic Action

Generosity describes Dick and Betsy DeVos. They have donated $138.7 million dollars to a wide range of causes through their DeVos Family Foundation.


Their charitable interests include scholarships, education, the arts, culture, health, and more. In 2006, they donated $12.5 million toward the building of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, which was co-founded by Helen and Richard DeVos, former CEO and founder of Amway. They were Dick’s parents.


Dick and Betsy DeVos have donated generously to other causes. They are magnanimous not only with their charities but with their time and talents.


Dick has been involved in Grand Rapids’ effort to avoid suburbanization. He and other business leaders opposed building a sports arena outside of the city. He thought a sports stadium in the suburbs would detract from the city itself. So he and others formed the Grand Action, a group that pushed for city development. They succeeded in having the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Place Convention, Michigan State University’s medical school, and the Grand Rapids City Market built. The purpose was to stop suburban sprawl. The skyline of Grand Rapids was also raised.


He and Betsy have long been in favor of charter schools to help poor children.


“The momentum around giving parents more choices, giving students more choices, is continuing to build,” according to Betsy, who is now U.S.Secretary of Education, appointed by President Trump.


Dick founded a special charter school for children interested in aviation at the airport. Children from low-income families were encouraged to come. The purpose was to help these children by placing them in this school, and success is obvious by the growing enrollment.


Dick was also appointed to an administration job. He has been an enthusiastic pilot so it was fitting that he be named to a civilian board of the FAA. He was nominated by Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. The board oversees the agency and sets its course.


Dick has been politically active as well. He and Betsy have donated heavily to the Republican Party. Dick ran for governor in 2000 but lost. He continues to be active in causes, such as school vouchers, which are continuing to increase in many states. Learn more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos




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