Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have a long history of charitable giving. Over their life time they have given nearly 139 million dollars. Recently, these have gone through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. In 2015 they gave $11.6 million according to their foundations website. Over the last five years they have given $5.3 million in political campaign donations, they are players in Republican politics and have been for many years. Both Dick and Betsy come from families know for charitable giving. Dick’s father is the co-founder of Amway, which gave away $104 million to charities in 2015. Betsy’s father was a well known Holland industrialist also know for political and charitable giving.
Dick and Betsy feel education is a priority and in 2015 they dedicated over $3 million or 26% of that years donations to educational causes. Additionally, the foundation gave 3% or $357,000 to groups supporting educational reform. Mr. DeVos feels this reflects their priority to improving education. He feels the current educational system will not lead to fulfillment of the American dream. All kids, not just those in the right ZIP code, are entitled to a shot at this dream.
The DeVos’s choose to support schools with environments that are academically rigorous and provide adult support and supervision, and accountability. They have long supported Grand Rapids Christian Schools and Potter’s House, an urban Christian school. In 2011 the help open the West Michigan Aviation Academy, the first aviation themed charter school located at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Not only do they support the school financially, they donated the first plane and their connections turn the annual fundraiser into an A list event. Their connections have landed speakers such as former President George W. Bush and Apollo astronauts. The last graduation class boasted 15 licensed pilots, no bad for a high school.
Dick DeVos spent 1993 through 2002 as President of Amway. He held responsibility in all aspects of the operations in 50 countries and six continents. Before that he was Vice President of Amway International, holding responsibility for operations in 18 countries outside of North America. During his time as vice president, the company opened additional markets and tripled sales allowing international sales to exceed domestic sales for the first time in the company’s history. In 1991 the DeVos family acquired the NBA team, Orlando Magic, and Dick became the President and CEO, which he continued for three years. Currently he is the President of The Windquest Group, which is a Michigan based, privately held enterprise and investment management firm with diversified projects in technology, manufacturing, clean tech, hospitality, and nonprofit solutions according to their website windquest.com.