Dick DeVos Has $139 Million That He’s Given To Support Private Education, Art And Social Organizations

Dick DeVos is the leader of a private investment company based in Grand Rapids known as The Windquest Group. He and his wife Betsy started the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation that has been a force for philanthropy in Michigan and around the nation. Dick DeVos has given away millions each year that many business magazines and newsletters have mentioned in the headlines, but nobody has really known just how much the total lifetime giving has been up until this last January. When Betsy DeVos was scheduled to appear in Washington D.C. for her confirmation hearing for US Secretary of Education, she and Dick decided to let the public know they had given $139 million in philanthropy.

 

A good percentage of that $139 million has funded private and charter school institutions. While they were sending their own children to private schools in Michigan, they saw how expensive those schools were for many families, and they also saw a few schools operating on a limited budget. So under the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation they decided to partner with the Children’s Scholarship Fund and form Education Freedom Fund to help families, and Children First America to help out the schools. Many years later they formed the Great Lakes Education Association for Michigan charter schools. Dick and Betsy even helped fund the establishment of a school based in flying, mechanical sciences, computer technology and general studies at the Gerald Ford Airport known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy.

 

Dick and Betsy DeVos also work with universities such as Calvin College, Grand Valley State and Northwood University, Dick’s alma mater. They started the Dick & Betsy DeVos scholarship for business degree students and also started an executive training program at Arizona State’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. Dick is also the chairman of Grand Action Committee and is on the boards at Heritage Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He won the Spectrum Health System’s Art of Giving award in 2006.

 

Dick DeVos began his career in 1974 at Amway Corporation, a famous direct selling company his father Richard DeVos Sr. who currently owns the Orlando Magic cofounded. Dick started out in small tasks as a young boy, and then after graduating college came up through managerial roles to vice president, and then when his father retired in 1993 he became CEO until 2002. Dick also founded The Windquest Group where he and Betsy have invested various venture capital into Michigan energy and technology companies. Dick’s activism in the Republican party has been both as a candidate who ran but came up short in the 2006 governor’s race, and as a donor who supported Republican legislators in the 2012 right-to-work law that Governor Snyder signed into law.

 

The Philanthropy of Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos was born as Elisabeth Prince in Holland, Michigan. She married Dick DeVos in 1980 and they have four children together. Over the years I have seen that she has been noted for her activity in business and most especially her philanthropy. Betsy and Dick DeVos founded their company, The Windquest Group, in 1989. The Windquest Group is privately held that provides enterprise and investment management, specializing in hospitality, nonprofits, technology, manufacturing, and clean-tech. Betsy serves as Chairwoman for the company.

Betsy DeVos is noted for the many philanthropic causes that she has backed over the years. Dick and Betsy founded their own charitable foundation in 1989, The Dick & Betsy Family Foundation. In looking at the foundations website I can see that their foundation is motivated by their religious faith and values. The foundation has five main areas of support that they give to; education, arts, community, leadership, and justice. To date they have given over $139 million and in 2015 had been ranked by Forbes as the #24 top givers in the United States. Betsy also gives her time, and was on the Board of Directors for the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts for six years. Additionally Betsy & Dick have donated $22.5 million to the center in order to develop the future leaders who would head the center and other art foundations.

Read more: http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/

Another nonprofit that The Dick & Betsy Family Foundation supports is the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Program. This program researches the causes and cures of cancer and has researchers throughout the world. The program, based in Michigan, is allied with 26 international university’s and children’s hospitals. The Devos foundation has also given generously to the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is an academy that prepares high school aged students to work in the airline industry. In addition to featuring a curriculum of subjects such as English, Biology, Math, and other core subjects the academy also teach character issues such as respect and accountability. These are just a few of the charitable works that I have talked about as there are dozens more nonprofits that Betsy and Dick have supported over the years through their generous giving of their money, time, and expertise.

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