Dick DeVos is probably often characterized the most by the dollar sign, and it certainly sent shockwaves through mainstream American when he revealed that he and his wife Betsy had given $139 million to lifetime philanthropy. But Dick has not made the money’s value as important as how he’s planned to make changes with it. One of his first major changes was when he formed Grand Action Committee to change how the city was developing. He had seen how Detroit’s development and entertainment venues had been moved out of the downtown, negatively affecting its development, and after starting up a campaign Dick DeVos was able to change the construction site of an arena to the Grand Rapids downtown.
It’s well-known that Dick’s wife Betsy DeVos is the current Secretary of Education, but a big reason for this is that she and Dick have been hard at work giving Michigan families more choices to send their children to school. Dick and Betsy started the Education Freedom Scholarship, the American Education Reform Council and also teamed up with Children’s Scholarship Fund. In 2002 and the following years they began focusing their philanthropy on growing charter schools and even starting one of their own. By 2010 they had built the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick DeVos has been contributing to health, arts, business colleges, and church-related non-profits and pro-life groups. In 2006 he gave over $12 million to the Spectrum Health’s children’s hospital which was renamed for his mother, Helen DeVos. He also won the Art of Giving award for that donation. He has given back to universities such as his alma mater Northwood University, Grand Valley State, and the Arizona State University Thunderbird School of Global Management. He and Betsy also donated to the University of Maryland’s Institute for Arts Management’s facility completion.
Dick DeVos’s full name is Richard Marvin DeVos Jr., but has gone by “Dick” since his father also goes by Richard DeVos. His father is the co founder along with the Van Andel family of Amway Corporation and the owner of the Orlando Magic. Dick was taught all about philanthropy and business by his father, and he decided to follow in his footsteps once he completed his formal education. Dick’s work at Amway began as a lower level manager, but soon moved to the executive division with him becoming vice president and then CEO. He turned Amway Corporation into a major international sales company generating billions in revenue over that time. Today Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy invest in disruptive companies and clean energy initiatives through The Windquest Group. Dick has also been influential in the state’s Republican party, including running for governor in 2006, and being the head of the 2012 right-to-work law passage. He’s also a leader at Hudson Institute and Heritage Foundation.