Many people have heard of Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. Secretary of Education. Fewer people realize that she’s married to Richard “Dick” DeVos, and fewer still know that Dick DeVos has been a mover and shaker in his home state of Michigan for more than three decades.
The son of Amway’s CEO, DeVos followed his father into the family business at a young age. He served as its president for many years after his father retired, and he still holds a position on the board to this day.
In 1991, however, DeVos started to reach beyond the confines of company management. He’d heard about a proposed convention center in Grand Rapids, and he opposed it on the grounds that it could hurt the local economy. He’d seen the same thing happen to Detroit after the city built the Pontiac Silverdome.
Concerned with the plans he was hearing, DeVos got on the phone. He banded together a group of local business leaders, and together, they founded a committee called Grand Action. Not only did Grand Action stop the convention center, but they also supervised the construction of other, better community projects like performance halls and university medical schools.
But DeVos wasn’t finished. He had a passion for education even before his wife joined the White House, and he demonstrated this by building his own aviation charter school. An avid flyer, he wanted to encourage young people to obtain their pilot’s licenses just like he did.
DeVos also reached out a hand to help private schools. He proposed a law that would use tax dollars to pay for private school educations, and while it was ultimately rejected in Michigan, it came to pass in more than a dozen other states. The law allows for private school students to use tax-funded “vouchers” to pay for their tuition.
Today, DeVos is still working hard behind the scenes to improve lives. He gives millions to charities each year, and he’s one of the most prominent spokespeople for the Republican Party. Thanks to his wife, his reach is no longer limited to the state of Michigan; he can contribute to policies and proposals on a national level.
However, DeVos says that he’ll never forget his roots. According to the mission statement of The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, his ultimate goal is to “create a legacy of caring and stewardship through [his] support of projects that build a strong community.”
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.