The Philanthropy Of Dick DeVos

Dick and Betsy DeVos, through their Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, have given away an incredible $139 million in their lifetimes. Just in 2015 the couple gave $11.6 million away, mostly to educational nonprofits. The extended DeVos family was recently ranked #24th by Forbes on their “America’s Top Givers” list, and has given away about $1.33 billion of its roughly $5.2 billion estate.

Dick DeVos has commented that they give educational causes priority, and education accounted for about 1/4 of their 2015 donations. He believes that the current education system does not provide students with the means to obtain the American Dream, especially for kids who happen to grow up in the wrong zip code. He looks to change this through the education nonprofits that his foundation supports. He supports school choice and providing an improved system to support excellent teachers working to reach every child. The primary beneficiary of their donations are in Michigan but DeVos does support national organizations as well.

DeVos has stated that the institutions they support are held accountable, feature a program of academic rigor, supports the teachers and administrators, and provides ample supervision of the students. Some of the schools they support are Potter’s House, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, and the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This academy trains high school students to enter the aviation industry, including having now graduated 15 licensed pilots. About one-third of the students are impoverished, 40% are minorities, and the graduation rate is 86%.

The next focus of DeVos is on Arts & Culture, to which they gave about 20% of their donations to in 2015. The donations were given to organizations like the DeVos Institute for Arts Management. The foundation has also provided money to nonprofits such as churches, as well as into fields in Public Policy, Health & Human Services, and other civic or community based organizations.

Dick Devos started his career with Amway. He held several positions at the company and eventually was promoted to being a Vice President there. When he took over the development of foreign markets at Amway only 5% of their sales were outside the United States; within six years of his leadership that had grown to account for 50% of Amway’s sales. DeVos is also an owner of the Orlando Magic NBA team, and co-founded The Windquest Group with his wife, Betsy. The Windquest Group is a private financial investment company based on Grand Rapids, Michigan. The main fields that they invest in are technology, industrialism, and clean energy. One of their investments is the Green Machine, which captures the heat given off during the manufacturing process and turns it into electricity.

 

 

Dick DeVos Seeks To Reform Education And help His Local Area

Dick DeVos is a philanthropist who has been on my radar for a number of years after I became aware of the work towards education reform he has played an important role in over the course of the last 30 years. I found out much more about the work of Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy through an interview with Betsy DeVos published by the Philanthropy Roundtable that explained much about the reasons why the couple became involved in the reform movement, and how they have worked in different political and philanthropic area to achieve the success they feel is not completed yet. For Dick DeVos, the need to find political answers to the many issues involved with education reform has driven him to become a member of the Michigan State Board of Education, and to work with politicians from all sides of the political spectrum to create a better way of bringing school choice and voucher programs to people across the U.S. The need to help others find the best ways of educating their children successfully came from a single visit to the Potter’s House Christian School in Michigan, which I am happy to see led to education reform becoming a major part of the life of Dick DeVos.

 

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation is a major part of the success I feel Dick DeVos has made of his own life, which include his period as the President of the AmWay Group. Established in 1990 the foundation has been one of the top groups I feel has helped millions of people across the U.S. in education and health care reform; Dick DeVos has not limited himself to simply providing funding for educational programs, but instead also looks to aid the people of Michigan following the 2008 economic slowdown. Through his work with the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Grand Action Plan Dick DeVos has impressed me by providing arts and business programs designed to increase the cultural and financial success of the Grand Rapids, Michigan region.