The Groups Dick DeVos’s $139 Million Funded
Dick DeVos laid it all out in the open this last January when his family once again returned to the spotlight. This time it was the nomination of his wife Betsy DeVos to US Secretary of Education that prompted him to release a long-held secret. It became known that Dick and Betsy DeVos had given $139 million to charity and activism over their entire lifetimes. Not only have the DeVos’s been very generous, the audience they have given to has been quite diverse and has gone far beyond political candidates.
Private and charter schools have been among the primary recipients of Dick and Betsy DeVos’s philanthropy, and it was their work in fighting for school of choice laws that prompted then President-elect Donald Trump to choose Betsy as Secretary of Education. Potter’s House and Grand Rapids Christian School have been two of the main recipients of the DeVos’s operational funds. They started up the DeVos Foundation and Education Freedom Fund to assist needy families in obtaining funds to cover tuition costs. In more recent years they’ve started supporting charter schools and also were the founding donors to the West Michigan Aviation Academy, the nation’s first aviation-based charter school.
ArtPrize, an arts competition in downtown Grand Rapids is another beneficiary of Dick DeVos’s gifts. He also contributed $22 million to help complete the Kennedy Center’s art institute, which was then renamed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Institute for Arts Management. He was also the inspiration behind Grand Action Committee, a commercial and entertainment complex development organization that helped Grand Rapids city leaders bring in more business and entertainment to the downtown area. Dick DeVos also contributes to health organizations, colleges, churches and Republican political action groups such as Hudson Institute and Heritage Foundation.
Dick DeVos began his business career at Amway Corporation, a direct selling company his father Richard DeVos Sr. founded, and Dick was vice president of sales and marketing for several years, and then later CEO for 10 years. He also served as President of the Orlando Magic for three years when his family bought the ownership stake in the NBA franchise. In 1989 Dick DeVos founded a business investment company that’s also partnered with Huron River Ventures known as The Windquest Group. Since leaving Amway Corporation, The Windquest Group has been his primary work. He also ran in the 2006 governor’s race though he lost, and also authored the 1998 book “Rediscovering American Values.”