Dick and Betsy DeVos have made over $139 million in charitable contributions throughout their lifetimes. This comes in light of Betsy’s new position as the education secretary, as there is no doubt of the positive impact that Betsy has made. Rich DeVos started the Amway corporation, and was able to become very wealthy as a result of his success in business. This success has led to a large amount of charitable giving which Betsy and Dick have become famous for. Both Betsy and Dick are known for coming from families which emphasize charitable giving. Betsy’s father was an industrialist whom was also known for giving plenty to charity.
A large portion of the charitable giving which the family is known for is to educational causes. About 26 percent of the family’s giving in 2015 was to education because the family prioritizes improving the quality of education. They understand the value that being able to have a good education has on achieving the American dream. The right zip code can really make a difference in terms of the quality of education that a child has access to. Thus, the family has emphasized the value of school choice in being able to correct some of the educational inequities which persist in the system. These charitable contributions also give parents more choice and control over the education of their children.
They believe in a rigorous academic environment, adult support, and ensuring that the schools are accountable. Dick and Betsy have even gone so far as to launch an aviation-themed charter school by purchasing the first plane for the charter school. This action has led to attention from several prominent individuals whom also attend the school’s fundraising events, such as astronauts from the Apollo mission.
Dick DeVos was born in 1955, and began his career with the Amway corporation in 1974. He worked his way up through various positions in multiple departments, and became Vice President of Operations in 1984 where he was responsible for 18 countries. After 5 years in that role, he started his own company to manufacture organizers to gain experience outside the firm. The DeVos family had acquired the Orlando Magic NBA team, and his father then appointed his son to manage it in 1991 where he succeeded his father as president – Retiring in 2002 to focus on his manufacturing firm and political causes, including a 2006 run for Michigan governor.