In a career that has seen considerable donations to political organizations, Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have also become known for their contributions to charity, which total nearly $139 million. Information about the couple’s giving was made public as part of the vetting procedure when Mrs. DeVos was nominated for the post of United States Education Secretary. For years, the couple has been a major force in Republican politics, starting with Dick’s father, Richard DeVos who was the co-founder of Amway. A big emphasis of their philanthropy has been placed on education, with nearly $3 million donated to educational causes in 2015. An additional $357,000 was awarded from the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family foundation to organizations that support education reform. Dick believes that all kids need to have the education necessary so that they can achieve their dreams. Among the schools that Dick and his wife Betsy donated to in 2013 (which were primarily Michigan schools) were Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, Northland University in Midland, and Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico. Mr. DeVos lets it be known that the aim of their donations is to help and serve people.
Dick and Betsy are the patrons of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, the first aviation themed charter school in the United States, located at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The school boosts an 86 percent graduation rate, with more than one third being economically disadvantaged. In addition to education, the DeVos’s have donated heavily to Arts and Culture, believing that the future of arts management is important to the global community. In 2006 they were also instrumental in the construction of a children’s hospital in the Spectrum Health System, with their gift of $12.5 million. This hospital has helped improve the survival rates of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Dick and Betsy DeVos became the heirs to their family fortunes, his from the Amway Corporation founded by his father Richard, and she from the Prince Corporation, founded by her father Edgar Prince. Dick also served as the CEO of Amway from 1993 to 2002. Betsy has been hugely responsible for the expansion of charter schools in the country, while Dick helped to pass the 2012 law that enabled Michigan to become a right-to-work state.