When it comes to changing rigid institutions and corporate ways of thinking, Dick DeVos has always been on the forward side of progress. Whether it be fighting against a poorly planned convention center in downtown Grand Rapids or gathering a group of businessmen to help drive innovation, he has fought hard to improve communities.
But as CEO of his family institution Amway fro 1993 to 2001, DeVos has also been more than just a man in the shadows of government policy. He has led contributions to numerous charities and leadership teams focused on driving education reform and providing scholarships for private schools.
Between 1989 and 2015, Dick and his wife Betsy donated a reported $138.7 million dollars through their own family foundation to many of these programs.
But not to be outdone by just a small portion of their own fortune, they also gave an additional $12.5 million towards the construction of a children’s hospital in the Spectral Health System. The hospital would later be renamed after Dick’s mother, Helen DeVos.
While DeVos has long since left his family business to run his own firm, the Windquest Group, he’s hardly slowed down on his own community involvement. A major leader in GOP political thinking, DeVos currently serves as a member of the Management Advisory Council for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Part of the reason for his selection was his help in lowering air fairs and increasing passengers through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
While not busy with transportation policy, Devos has also fought along with his wife for better education opportunities for impoverished families. To give an example, DeVos co-founded the Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter school for prospective airplane pilots.
A licensed pilot himself, DeVos has advocated for an education policy that gives poor children the same opportunities that their own children had. And while not every attempt to sway the public opinion has been successful, Devos and his wife remain committed to their cause.
In 2000, Devos’ own constitutional amendment to allow vouchers for students to attend private-schools was shot down by voters. He faced a similar defeat when he ran for governor against Jennifer Granholm.
But not to be deterred, Devos helped spread awareness about the voucher program to other states. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of the voucher program.
Along with his own efforts, Devos’ wife Betsy currently serves as the U.S. Secretary of Education for Republican President Donald Trump. While his wife seems to make many headlines as of late, Devos himself still remains active in his own political pursuits.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.