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Philantropist

Dick DeVos Released $139 Million In Statement On Giving

Posted by JacobT on

Dick DeVos just released a statement this last January that had the Washington D.C. media and the business community’s attention. He decided to let them know he had given $139 million over his lifetime to charity and other non-business activities. While the statement on philanthropy was released right before his wife Betsy had her confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education, Dick DeVos said he had planned to release it regardless. The amounts that were contained showed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundations focus being prioritizing education at the top, but also making contributions to hospitals, museums, churches and aviation and political think tank groups.

 

Dick and Betsy DeVos have been some of the nation’s biggest advocates of private schools and school of choice laws, and in 1990 Dick was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education where he sought to help private schools through policy. He only held the post for 2 years since he had to go back to being a business executive, but in 1993 he and Betsy went further by establishing the Education Freedom Fund through their foundation in order to help the Children’s Scholarship fund support Grand Rapids Christian Schools and help lower income families meet tuition costs. About 10 years later they got involved with charter schools and formed the Great Lakes Education Project, and they even started their own at the Gerald Ford Airport known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy.

 

The DeVos’s have also donated to Grand Rapids development groups through the Grand Action Committee. Dick has been the longtime Chairman of that committee and he helped bring in theaters, shopping centers, museums, libraries and sports complexes to downtown Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos is involved on the boards of Spectrum Health Foundation where his generous contribution in 2006 made him the recipient of the Art of Giving award. Dick and Betsy also donated a $22 million fund to complete construction of the Kennedy Center’s Art Institute in Washington D.C., and it was renamed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Institute for Arts Management.

 

Dick DeVos grew up in Grand Rapids and spent his childhood and early adulthood working with his father Richard DeVos Sr. and brothers Daniel and Douglas at the family company, Amway Corporation. Richard DeVos Sr. is also the owner of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and when he bought the ownership stake in the team in 1991, Dick joined him to serve as president of the NBA franchise. When his father stepped down from Amway in 1993, Dick filled in his shoes as CEO and ran the company for 10 years. He also founded the Windquest Group in 1989 and since leaving Amway has made this company the focal point of his career. Dick is also a former gubernatorial candidate and one of the leading funders of the 2012 Michigan right-to-work law.

 

Public Relations/Philantropist

Betsy Devos, A Life for Equal Opportunities

Posted by JacobT on

President Donald Trump’s choice for education secretary is one of the main activists for the implementation of a model that gives parents the total freedom to decide where their children are studying.

Betsy DeVos resisted signing the waiver of the rule while asserting that she “felt uncomfortable” because of the potential damage that could be caused by the repeal of this rule for transgender students. She has been engaged in causes for students and families, focusing on those less fortunate, and being a firm advocate for equal rights for all students and development programs that would help make the school system more inclusive and egalitarian for all.

She is married to Dick DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway Corporation, one of the 30 largest unlisted companies in the US. The DeVos family fortune is estimated at $ 5.1 billion, according to Forbes. And like other tycoons, she is committed to giving back to society through a hundred initiatives, charities, and programs, for which the DeVoss family is also known as one of the major donors in the United States.

She has spent decades struggling to increase the educational opportunities for all students through her philanthropic and promotional work. This examiner and philanthropist are immersed in the process of testifying before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee (HELP), answering questions and offering senators a more detailed vision of how she seeks to lead one of the largest government agencies. Read her interview with Philantrophy Table.

DeVos has spent millions of dollars of her money to help parents, families, and students mobilize for greater access to quality schools. Thanks to their generosity, many people have been able to fight against a slow-moving status quo and still leave behind too many students, especially those with low incomes and of Hispanic and African-American origin.

She supports the expansion of charter schools that have become so popular among minority families. Many low-income families are sending their children to charter schools, which are public schools that operate with greater freedom and autonomy. Among those who benefit from this possibility are many Afro-American and Hispanic families, who try to flee from public schools plagued by conflict and delinquency. Above all, her primary focus is to make the education system more inclusive and to bring education closer to parents, because she believes the actual system alienates parents from what their children are being taught, especially in regions where crime and gangs have been rising in the past 10 years, and she is a firm believer that the numbers will go down once education is available to all.

Betsy DeVos believes that there is a long list of things to do to enact major reforms that transform the educational status quo and expressed being committed to giving much of the authority and responsibility to states regarding educational policy.

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