Dick DeVos has always been proud of the work his foundation has done to support local charities and activist groups, but he’s previously kept the amount in gifts to these organizations quiet. But now he and his wife Betsy have actually revealed a number regarding the total amount they have given. Dick and Betsy own an investment company that has purchased shares in many Grand Rapids and Holland businesses, and their philanthropy has been channeled largely through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. They have donated to many local schools and universities, but have also included churches and civic centers in their giving. It’s been estimated that their gifts, of which political campaign contributions account for only a small portion have totaled around $139 million in lifetime amounts.
Dick DeVos’s current occupation is Chairman of The Windquest Group, a company he and his wife started. Prior to The Windquest Group, Dick worked for his family’s company, Amway Corporation. Amway was co-founded by his father, Richard DeVos Sr. who also owns the NBA’s Orlando Magic. It is a multilevel marketing company based in Grand Rapids, MI and under Dick DeVos’s leadership when he became CEO in 1993, it started growing its influence in foreign markets and bringing in billions in profits.
Dick and Betsy’s primary goal in their philanthropy and grassroots activism has been to tackle education problems. Dick first fought for change when he ran and won election to the Michigan State Board of Education. But he and Betsy decided they wanted to do more to support private schools and to help families financially to keep their children in those schools. So they started up the Education Freedom Fund to provide families with scholarships, and later they attempted to get a law passed for voucher programs and tax credits. They also helped fund several charter schools across the state and even started one that’s known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick and Betsy have also donated to the Kennedy Center in Washington where they helped fund the renovation of the Arts Management Institute, and it was named in their honor afterwards. Dick also was given the Art of Giving award from Spectrum Health Foundation for his gifts to local healthcare organizations. He also ran for governor in the 2006 race but came up just short of winning election. He did help get a right-to-work law passed six years later. Dick DeVos is also the author of the book Rediscovering American Values where he discusses some of his ideology.