Category Archives: Philanthropy

Philanthropy

Still Hard At Work, Dick DeVos Has Diverse Stories To The $139 Million He’s Given Away

Dick DeVos is constantly making news in Michigan, along with his wife Betsy who now has the big job of managing the entire nation’s education system. Dick DeVos has made billions worth in sales and investments in his time running Amway Corporation and his current company, The Windquest Group. But it’s his staggering $139 million that he’s given away in his lifetime that’s had the most attention in the national spotlight. It wasn’t long after it had been announced that President Trump had chosen Betsy as US Secretary of Education that the DeVos’s revealed their total philanthropy amount, yet they say it was not this decision by Trump that led to it.

 

Dick DeVos’s business background has been nothing short of spectacular, and he learned from his father, Richard DeVos Sr., one of America’s leading pioneers in multilevel marketing. Dick started at Amway after graduating from Northwood University, and his specialty was global marketing and he started exploring investing in the Asian and Australian markets during this time. Dick left Amway for about 4 years during which he founded The Windquest Group and also was President of the Orlando Magic. When he returned to Amway, it was as CEO during which term he began a greater parent company over Amway known as Alticor, and it was through this company that Amway grew sales profits into the billions, especially in 2002 when they made over $4.5 billion.

 

It was during the early stages of their foundation that Dick and Betsy started exploring ways to make private schools more affordable. Soon, they started providing scholarships that also matched operational costs to several local private schools and began assisting lower-income families with tuition. They attempted to bring it further to the Michigan voters by trying to get an initiative for vouchers and tax credits in the 2000 election, but came up short doing so. But they still went beyond private school scholarships to looking to start a public charter school, and in 2010 they succeeded in opening a tech-based school known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy.

 

Dick DeVos has gone beyond education in his $139 million and worked with leaders in Grand Rapids, including in the change in a sports arena project that was moved from the suburbs to the downtown area of Grand Rapids. The committee responsible for this was Grand Action Committee, chaired by Dick DeVos and the Van Andel family. He also gave over $12 million to a new children’s hospital facility and research center in 2006 that made him the recipient of the Art of Giving award that year. He was also a candidate for governor that year, though he did not win the seat. But in 2012 he and Betsy successfully funded the passage of a right-to-work law and also donated $22 million to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.