Dick DeVos is a business investor, philanthropist and even a former political candidate who is well-known in the state of Michigan’s political circles and from time to time makes national headlines. His wife Betsy, who is a leading spokesperson for private education made big headlines when she was selected to President Donald Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of Education, and in the confirmation hearing the DeVos’s were pressed on their philanthropy. They made known that their lifetime giving was an astounding $139 million, only a part of of the entire DeVos family’s charity which is estimated to be over $1 billion in lifetime giving.
Contrary to popular belief, while Dick and Betsy DeVos have supported many candidates in both the state and national Republican Party, only a small amount of that $139 million went to any campaigns. It has gone to think tanks, political volunteer groups, and heritage organizations including Action Institute, the Constitutional Society, Heritage Foundation and Hudson Institute. And other civic organizations such as the Mackinac Public Policy Center and Grand Action Committee have also benefited from the DeVos’s charity, but the organizations who have benefited the most are private, charter and even a few public schools.
Dick and Betsy DeVos have made it their mission to try and help as many families as possible afford private schools, having seen how many could barely afford to do so while they were sending their own children to these schools. They helped bring in support for these families through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation’s partnership with Education Freedom Fund and Children First America. But on top of scholarship programs they also have worked to establish legislative reforms and also have more private and charter schools built. In 2010 they had a charter school that is open to the public built at the Gerald Ford Airport in Grand Rapids where students have an aviation and high-tech curriculum known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick DeVos’s primary business is the Windquest Group, a company he founded on the side while still working at his family’s company Amway Corporation. The Windquest Group is a holdings company for many Michigan-owned businesses that include The Stowe Company, Boxed Water, Huron Ventures, Electratherm and recently Coppercraft Spirits. Before and after founding The Windquest Group, Dick DeVos was an executive at Amway where he started in upper management positions after graduating with a business degree from Northwood University. He was President of the NBA’s Orlando Magic for a few years when he and his father Richard DeVos Sr. purchased controlling shares in the franchise. He was CEO of Amway Corporation from 1993 to 2002. Dick DeVos is also the honorary recipient of the Art of Giving award from Spectrum Health and the author of Rediscovering American Values.