Education, healthcare, economic freedom and right-to-life are some of the biggest issues facing Americans today. And it isn’t just politicians and policy makers dealing with these issues, but also people working behind the scenes like Dick and Betsy DeVos. The DeVos’s are some of Michigan’s brightest entrepreneurs and civic leaders whose work has transformed Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan. Their chief company is The Windquest Group, a firm that attracts investors to businesses based in manufacturing, energy, and technology. But the DeVos’s have made a name through the philanthropy they’ve done through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation, started back in the early 90s and continuing its endeavors to help others pursue the American dream.
Dick DeVos is the son of retired billionaire Richard DeVos, the man who co-founded one of the US’s largest direct selling businesses, Amway Corporation, and who currently owns most of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Dick learned much of his business skills from his father, and after graduating from Northwood University he spent much of his early career working at and eventually running the family business. Amway saw a lot of overseas business increase and new markets opened while Dick DeVos was CEO from 1993 to 2002. He and Betsy started up The Windquest Group in 2002 and turned the focus more on their political work, and the foundation.
The Dick & Betsy DeVos foundation has donated much of its funds and resources to local charities and even national institutions. One of the largest donations received by them was the Kennedy Center’s art institute in Washington D.C. who then renamed it in honor of Dick and Betsy for their contributions. Dick also supports and chairs Grand Action, an organization that plans projects to help grow and revitalize the downtown Grand Rapids area.
But one the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation’s biggest endeavors is to reform Michigan’s education by giving young children school of choice options, and to help fund private school operations across the state. Dick at one time was elected to the state’s Board of Education, and has also helped start a charter school called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The DeVos’s also support Potter’s House Christian School, and have helped start voucher and scholarship programs like the Education Freedom Fund. Other charities the foundation has supported include the Spectrum Health Foundation, a local children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, and Willow Creek Association.