Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy DeVos have contributed about $139 million to charities since they became a couple, more than 30 years ago. Large portion of this amount is has been channeled to fund activities that directly improve the lives of communities, especially American children. They have funded numerous educational causes, more so supporting the creation of charter schools and providing scholarships to those kids considered to be from the wrong ZIP code areas. According to Mr. Dick DeVos, these kids did not have the opportunity to access the necessary education to enable them realized their dreams. This was the main reason why Mr. DeVos’ family decided to channel a bigger portion of their philanthropic contributions to the education sector.
Dick and Betsy have been advocating for the expansion of charter schools and voucher programs as a way of addressing the non-performance of traditional public institutions. However, he explained that their intention is not to criticize the employees of these schools, but said they should be inspired and empowered so that they can help students to improve their performance. He believes the educators and administrators at these public schools are talented and hard working, but the education system is failing them. According to DeVos, when proper systems are in place, the teachers will be more effective in their work.
Dick DeVos said that the current system was not helping kids to realize their dreams. In fact, it is a civil rights issue, which should be addressed as soon as possible by both federal and state government, according to Dick DeVos. The 2013 tax records for the couple’s foundation gave a breakdown of major beneficiaries of their contributions for that year. For instance, Potter’s House received $301,000, Ferris State University $100,000, West Michigan Aviation Academy $315,000, Northwood University $200,000, and others. All the donations made by the couple meet the set criteria of charitable institutions. The couple has funded Great Lakes Education Foundation as well as the Michigan based advocacy group which they founded.
Dick DeVos’ Professional History
Dick DeVos kicked off his career at Amway Corporation more than 40 years ago. He served at various positions, especially in the operation department. In 1984, he became the company’s VP overseeing operations in 18 nations. Five years later, Dick left Amway and invested in his own business, The Windquest Group. In 1991, Orland Magic Club was acquired by his family and Dick DeVos was appointed to head it. After two years, Dick DeVos went back to Amway and was named the President. During his tenure, the company expanded its operations to 50 countries. He served at the company until 2002, when he retired from Amway to focus on his business, The Windquest Group.