Dick DeVos One of the Most Popular Businessmen and Philanthropists in the United States

One of the greatest philanthropists in the United States today is Dick DeVos, who along with his wife, Betsy DeVos, also runs a family foundation named Dick and Betsy Family Foundation. The primary aim of the organization is to provide proper education to the under privileged students. Other than the education and providing scholarships for meritorious students, Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation also offer support and donations for health care, medical supplies, food, shelter, jobs, and other areas. As per the report, Dick and Betsy DeVos have collectively donated more than $139 million in their lifetime, and it is a figure that is growing at a rapid pace to date.

 

Dick DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway Corporation, Richard DeVos, has had a tremendous record as a businessman as well. He studied business administration at the Northwood University and later attended Wharton School of Business and Harvard University for his master and diploma courses in business administration. After completing his studies, Dick DeVos joined the family business, Amway Corporation, in 1974. Over the years, Dick DeVos worked at various positions in different departments of the company, ranging from marketing to R&D, and from sales to finance, to understand the company’s business model and work culture. It also helped him gain the considerable exposure and experience in the firm.

 

Around ten years after he joined the Amway Corporations, Dick DeVos was promoted to the position of one of the company’s Vice President in 1984. He was given the job to manage the operations of Amway Corporations in a total of 18 countries. Thanks to his sharp business skills and foresightedness, he managed to enter many new overseas markets and multiply the sales of the company manifolds to take it to a whole new level altogether. The company managed to exceed foreign sales to domestic sales for the first time in its history. By the time Dick DeVos left the company, the international sales of Amway Corporation had rosed to over fifty percent of its turnover from just 5 per cent when Dick DeVos had joined.

 

Dick DeVos started his own private company soon after resigning from Amway Corporation by the name of Windquest Group. The company primarily functioned as an investment management firm and has holdings in diverse sectors, including in technology, biotechnology, manufacturing, and more. The company has been growing substantially under the leadership of Dick DeVos and has been focusing primarily on the energy sector, which has been witnessing rapid growth in recent years.

 

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Philanthropic Causes Supported Dick DeVos and His Family

The lifetime donations by Dick and Betsy DeVos to support various charitable initiatives are about to hit $139 million. Dick and his wife have channeled millions of dollars to the family foundation to support their philanthropic activities, which mainly targets learning institutions. According to a new report on their foundation’s website, the couple gave out $11.6 million as charitable donations in 2015 alone. The DeVos family dynasty, led by Dick’s father, Amway who co-founded Rich DeVos, has played vital role in the politics of the Republican Party for several decades. The family is placed 24th by Forbes most “American To Givers”.

 

From the data supplied by the family, Forbes estimated the family has donated $1.33 billion to charities in its lifetime. The wife of Dick DeVos, Betsy, is also from a family known for its charitable activities. The couple gives priority to education, and in 2015, over $3 million dollars was donated to the sector. In fact, the funds represent 26% of the total charitable donations the family gave in 2015. Additionally, the foundation donated more than $300,000 to group and agencies focusing on education reforms. According to Dick, their spending on this sector is a reflection of their goal to support and improve education.

 

Dick DeVos believes the current education system has been overtaken by events because it is does not fulfill the American dream. He cites situations where kids from poor backgrounds are unable attain the education required to enable them realize the American dream. Apart from education, the couple’s contributions also benefited art and culture institutions. In 2015, the donations to these institutions amounted to $2.4 million. Previously, their foundation, contributed $22 million to establish arts management institute at the University of Maryland. In fact, the family is known to donate funds without getting involved on how they are spent, and this has helped to impact and make a difference in lives of many.

 

About Dick DeVos’s Personal and Work Life

 

Dick began his career in 1974 at Amway Corporation, where he worked at various positions in several operating departments of the company. After working for 10 years, he became vice president, and was responsible for the company’s operations in 18 other nations. In 1988, he left the company and started The Windquest Group, which was involved in the production of storage and closet organizers.

 

Dick returned to Amway Corporation in 1993 where he succeeded his father as the president of the company. In 2000, there was a major restructuring at the company, and Alticor Corporation was formed. This new formation comprised Amway Corporation, Access Business Group and Quixtar Corporation. Dick retired as president of Alticor Corporation in 2002, to focus on his business, Windquest Group, and also to pursue political causes.

How Betsy DeVos Became A Leading Philanthropist

Even when she attended Calvin College, Betsy DeVos was a reformer and political advocate. She has continued that spirit through her adult life, championing many social causes, engaging in philanthropy, and staying politically active. Before becoming the United States Secretary of Education in 2017, she was also the co-founder, along with her husband Dick, and Chairman of the Windquest Group which invests in technology, clean energy, and manufacturing.

Betsy was also the Chairman of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation through which they provide their financial charitable giving. The family is known for donating money with no strings attached as to how it is used. She has also served on the board of a variety of nonprofits in the educational, leadership, and arts fields. Among these organizations she has served as a leader are the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, Kids Hope USA, and the American Federation for Children. Read more on Los Angeles Times.

An issue that Betsy DeVos is passionate about is school choice. She has been one of the driving forces that have led to 17 states, plus Washington D.C., starting programs that offer parents a choice of which school their child attends. One of the problems with public schools is that the educational outcome of a child relies far too much on what zip code they live in. Children that live in zip codes with a lot of low-income families are far too often not given an adequate education. The school choice movement allows families to use things like vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax credits to attend private schools where children get a much better education.

Betsy says that she became part of the school choice movement in the 1980’s when she and Dick started regularly visiting a private school in Grand Rapid, Michigan. This school, Potter’s House Christian School, offers a great education in an area that is largely low-income. Betsy DeVos talked to the parents of these children and found out they were willing to make huge sacrifices in order to see their children get a quality education in a school that was safe and provided endless opportunities to exercise their curiosity. In order to support parents like this, Betsy and Dick started financially supporting the educational costs that some of these families incur.

Other education programs they have supported include the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This academy readies its students to enter the field of aviation after graduating. It is also a public charter high school.

Betsy began her political involvement in 1976 when she volunteered for President Ford’s reelection campaign. She has also been the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for four consecutive terms. She was also on the Republican National Committee for six years.

Visit: http://www.betsydevos.com/policy-involvement/