Dick DeVos and Betsy DeVos have garnered a lot of attention regarding their political donations, which are considered to be quite generous. However, the facts presented tend to differ as their political donations appear to be a fraction when contrasted with their charitable contributions, which equates to nearly 139 million dollars in their lifetime. The couple recently decided to unveil the philanthropic contributions that are managed by their foundation. In 2015, as per the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation website, a report rolled out revealing that the DeVos’ donated 11.6 million dollars to charity. In contrast, a total of 5.3 million dollars was contributed for campaign purposes in the past five years; this is half their 2015’s charitable contribution. According to Forbes’ “America’s Top Givers,” the DeVos family (led by Rich DeVos and his four children) ranked in the 24th place.
Dick and Betsy prioritize their philanthropy toward education. In 2015, they donated over three million dollars toward education equating to 26% of the year’s total charitable donations. Other than that, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation awarded 357,000 dollars to education oriented reform groups. Talking with The Grand Rapids Press and MLive, Mr. DeVos acknowledged that they realized that the current school system was unable to fulfill the American dream, citing that this was a civil rights issue. He further added that children growing up in poor areas were hardly able to reconcile with the American dream. Despite the criticisms of the DeVos’ charter schools, Mr. DeVos argues that their aim was offer choice and counter the shortcomings of the public education platform (the one-size-fits-all). He further states that the schools they choose to support have adult support, accountability, and academic-friendly environments.
In 2012, the couple inaugurated the first aviation charter school in the country. The DeVos’ are the patrons of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, other than their financial contributions; they use their connections to call upon speakers like the Apollo astronauts and former President Bush to the institution’s annual fundraiser. Mr. DeVos has been particularly proud of 2016’s graduating class that included 15 licensed pilots. Apart from education, the DeVos’ other focus is Culture and Arts. In 2015, their foundation donated more than 2.4 million dollars. The couple had previously given 22 million dollars aimed at launching the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at Maryland University. A high-quality arts management was imperative to the future of art globally. The rest of their remaining philanthropic contributions include leadership and development, 1.5 million dollars; Health and Human Services, 618,000 dollars; Public Policy, 1.3 million dollars; civic and community, 1.8 million dollars; and churches, 488,250 dollars.
About Dick DeVos
Mr. DeVos is Richard DeVos’ (co-founder of Amway Corporation), eldest son. In 1974, Mr. DeVos joined the Amway Corporation holding various responsibilities. He was promoted to company Vice President in 1984. In 1989, he left Amway Corporation to start his business venture. In 1991, Richard DeVos appointed him to manage the Orlando Magic Basketball franchise. In 1993, Mr. DeVos returned to Amway Corporation as President, and in 2000 he oversaw the reshaping of the Corporation.