Dick DeVos has gone way beyond the success of his business career to build charitable organizations for the Grand Rapids, MI community. While its been known that his gifts have been in the millions, it’s never been known just how much he and his wife Betsy have given in total since starting their foundation in 1992. But when Betsy was chosen to head the US Education Department by President Trump, the DeVos’s disclosed their charity amounts and totaled their lifetime giving to be about $139 million. They also made known where some of their giving went to.
Most of Dick and Betsy DeVos’s giving has supported education and private schools such as Grand Rapids Christian Academy and Potter’s House. They started the Education Freedom Fund along with Children First to provide grants to low-income students and were able to help financially-struggling private schools with special financing options. In 2003 they spearheaded the Great Lakes Education Project, a coalition of charter schools and organized curricula. They later founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter school based at the Gerald Ford Airport that specializes in aircraft mechanics and special flight curricula.
Dick DeVos’s business career began back in 1974 when he started working for the company his father cofounded, Amway Corporation. Dick’s father is Richard DeVos Sr., a former advisor and chief campaign donor to former President Gerald Ford and the current owner of the Orlando Magic. Amway Corporation is a direct selling company that allows independent business owners to resell products and generate their own profits as well as referring others to the company. Dick DeVos managed lower level operations of Amway for several years before becoming a vice president and heading the overseas marketing division. In 1989 Dick DeVos left Amway for a few years during which he founded his current company The Windquest Group, and then became CEO of the Orlando Magic. In 1993 he returned to Amway when his father stepped down and took over as CEO. He resigned from that position in 2002 and has spent his recent years building The Windquest Group’s portfolio.
Dick DeVos’s other philanthropies have included a $22 million gift to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and a contribution to Grand Rapids Children’s Hospitals. The Spectrum Health Foundation selected him as the winner of the Art of Giving award in 2006. That same year Dick DeVos decided to run for Governor as a voice for change in Michigan’s economic policies and a fighter for small businesses. In the end he wasn’t able to win on election day, but he did continue working his influence in Republican circles as an outside donor. In 2012 he joined the Heritage Foundation and several other groups to pass a right-to-work law. Dick DeVos has hobbies such as sailing and piloting planes for his spare time.