Dick DeVos Changing the Lives of American Kids

Dick DeVos is a renowned businessman, politician and philanthropist from Grand Rapids, MI. He has donated to several charitable programs, especially those targeting to improve the quality of education for American learners. Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy DeVos established a foundation that channels their donations to different projects which they choose to support. Since they began philanthropic initiatives almost three decades ago, Dick’s family has donated nearly $139 million to charities, putting them among the top givers in the United State. Their foundation has also funded political causes, particularly Republican candidates. Most of the fund donated by Dick and his family is used to support education programs that favor all kids in the United States.


Dick has played critical role of developing and supporting the school choice program that is supported by his wife and other education reformers. He believes this was the only way equality would be brought in the education sector. Many people believe the performance of traditional public schools has fallen below par, and hence there was a need to offer parents more educational choices for their children. Dick DeVos says that the education set should be change in order to motivate teachers in public schools because they have potential to perform better. The current education system in the United States has turned into a civil rights problem because it is promoting discrimination of kids from poor and low-income families.


A few years ago, Dick & Betsy founded an aviation themed-high school, which graduated the first group of fifteen licensed pilots last year. They donated the first plane to the school in order to facilitate the training of students. In 2013, they gave a check of $315,000 as donation to the school. The annual fundraiser gala for the school draws prominent individual like former President Bush. The West Michigan Aviation Academy draws students from seven nearby counties, where some commute for one hour or more to reach the school.


Developments Initiated by Mr. DeVos and the Grand Action


In 1991, there was a plan to construct a sports facility and a convention center in the northern area of the downtown Grand Rapids. However, Dick DeVos, who was preparing for the CEO position at Amway Corp. was concerned about the idea because he believed the convention arena would cause more harm to downtown Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos was against the construction of this facility away from the CBD. His initiative led to the establishment of the Grand Action, which was made up of several business leaders who initiated the construction of several projects like the Grand Rapids City Market, DeVos Performance Hall among others. These developments are considered to be the driving force that led to the trajectory growth of Grand Rapids.



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