Dick Devos -Finding Happiness in Giving Back
August 4, 2017
Dick and Betsy Devos are a power couple that loves giving back. In their lifetimes, they have managed to give out $139 million dollars in charitable contributions. Dick is the product of public school and strives to improve the education system the best way he can. He and his wife give out wholeheartedly without expecting anything in return. The couple contributed $11.6 million to charity in 2015. This is double the $5.3 million they have spent in campaign donations in the last five years.
The two belong to a high profile family dynasty that has been a key player in Republican politics for years and is led by Dick’s dad, Rich Devos, who is the Amway co-founder. Dick Devos’ father and siblings gave out close to $104 million in charitable donations in 2015. This series of actions led the family to Forbes “America’s Top Givers” list.
Education is a priority to Dick and Betsy. They put aside a little over $3 million specifically towards educational causes. Education accounted for 26% of their charitable donations in 2015. The foundation also awarded $357000 (or 3%) to groups which support education reform. Dick Devos has mentioned that together with his wife they feel as though the current education system does not fulfil the American dream. It is not fair that kids growing up in the “Wrong ZIP code” cannot get the chance to access the American dream and have the necessary education that will give them a shot at the dream.
Dick Devos was born in 1955 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Even as a child, he was always involved in the family business. He went to Northwood University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He then went on to Harvard Business School and Wharton School’s Executive Programs but did not graduate. He has been given honorary doctorates from Central Michigan, Grove City College, and Northwood University. DeVos was CEP of Amway from 1993 – 2002.
In 2012, Dick Devos was involved in the engineering of the 2012 law. The law changed Michigan from the home of organised labor to a state where Union membership is not a condition for you to get work. Dick and his wife Betsy formed an organisation, the Dick and Betsy Devos Family Foundation. The foundation has been reported to give away $138.7 million to different causes such as health and human services, arts and culture, policy initiatives that are based on education reform and private school scholarships. The couple made the leading donation of $12.5 million to go towards the construction of the children’s hospital that was named after Helen Devos, who was Amway Co-founder’s wife. Education reform is at the heart of the Devos’ initiatives. Dick Devos started an aviation high school at Grand Rapids International Airport.