Dick and Betsy Devos is a couple with a heart of giving. The two come from families that are well known for their philanthropy. Betsy Devos nomination as the US education minister put their finances in the spotlight leading to the lifting the veil on their donations. Their political and other contributions over the years add up to $139M. The family of Rich Devos has played a significant role in the Republican politics and the extended family has donated $1.33B through the years. Rich and his children gave a total of $104 in 2015 with Dick and Betsy giving $11.6M. The couple gives education a priority in their philanthropy. In 2015, the two through their foundation donated $357,000 to groups that support educational reform and $ 3M for educational causes.
Why are Dick and Betsy Devos so passionate about education? Dick insists that the current educational system marginalizes kids from some zip codes. He believes that educators and administrators should have a better system so that they can be more effective. They are patrons of West Michigan Aviation Academy, a school that they launched. A third of the students that attend the school are economically disadvantaged and almost 40 percent are minorities.
Dick and Betsy Devos Family Foundation also donate to Arts and Culture having given more than $ 2.4M in 2015 to such causes. They have launched the Devos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. Dick highlights that the donation’s purpose is to help people directly and are not political organizations meant to advance political agenda. Other donations in 2015 are $ 1.8M for civic and community, $1.5M for leadership and development, 1.3$M public policy, 618,000 for health and human services and 488,250 for churches.
Dick Devos draws his entrepreneurial skills from his father, Rick Devos. He grew up working at Amway but officially joined the company in 1974. His job was in departments such as finance, sales, marketing, manufacturing, research and development. In 1984 he became the vice president of the company’s international operations and was in charge of 18 countries. As the vice president, he opened new markets and foreign sales tripled. The family acquired Orlando Magic in 1991, and he became the CEO and the president. He served as the president of Amway from 1993 to 2002. As the president, he brought other subsidiary companies and oversaw the restructuring of the company to Alticor Corporation. The Northwood University alumnus is currently the president of Windquest Group, a company that he founded in 1989. The father of four has led many community initiatives and in 2006, he ran for Michigan gubernatorial seat though he did not succeed. He is an author of a book that is a “New York Times” bestseller, a qualified jet pilot and a national champion sailor.