Billionaire philanthropist Richard “Dick DeVos is a change maker. In his home state, he has always stepped up to the plate when he thought something needs to be done. For instance, when a private corporation and supporters wanted to replace several abandoned sports arenas in the downtown area, DeVos responded. Not only was the initiative thwarted, he got together several business leaders and formed his own committee. The result is an arena, medical school, market and performance hall — all with the DeVos name on it.
When it comes to wheeling and dealing, DeVos is probably saying “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.” DeVos is the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. He comes from enormous wealth, as does his wife, current Sec. of Education for the Trump Administration Betsy DeVos. He has used his tremendous wealth to a lot of good within the state of Michigan. Not only has he helped contribute to a number of charter schools in the state, he built his own — West Michigan Aviation Academy, for those, who like he, loves aviation and engineering.
DeVos has stoked the ire of many people, even with all the good he has done. For one thing, he’s managed to turn Michigan into a right to work state. Michigan is that state where unions were formed. It is the birthplace of worker’s rights. DeVos changed all that after he dumped in enough money to steer things in his direction.
People are however grateful that he has put his money where his mouth is, using it to make things better the state. His Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation has given several millions of dollars to the arts, health and human services, as well as churches. He donated $12.5 million to build a new children’s hospital in Grand Rapids. This was a godsend to families who previously had to drive great distances to visit sick children.
But DeVos’s commitment to education has been at the forefront of all his philanthropy. DeVos is a big proponent of school choice and voucher programs. He believes that all children should have access to a quality education regardless of race and socioeconomic background. Through the efforts of he and his wife, Michigan now has the largest number of charter schools in the country.
In 2006, DeVos ran for governor in the state of Michigan. It was his intent to unseat Democrat Jennifer Granholm. He eventually lost by 8 percentage points. DeVos says politics hasn’t jaded him. And in fact, he won’t rule out another run at some office in the future.
In the meantime, he continues to run his own company The Windcrest Group. His family is also the sole owner of the Orlando Magic NBA team.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.