Richard Marvin DeVos Jr, better known as Dick DeVos has laid the blueprint for successful philanthropy, an accomplishment he’s managed on top of running an investment firm and even spending time running for public office. Currently his wife, Betsy DeVos is running the US Education Department while he’s still running things back at The Windquest Group company that they both founded. Dick and Betsy have selflessly given out of their compensation and profits to make Grand Rapids a leading city in Michigan’s non-profit sector and their family foundation has addressed three basic areas of need. A report earlier this year showed that they had given a total of $139 million over the course of their professional careers
Led primarily by Betsy DeVos, the DeVos Foundation has spent a lot of money on education both to help private schools with costs, students attending those private schools, and also on efforts to fund voucher programs. Dick DeVos ran for the Michigan Board of Education back in 1990, and in 1992 he led the foundation to form the Education Freedom Fund to start a series of scholarships. Later on the foundation became a key driver for charter schools including helping open the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010. His university projects include starting the Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State.
Other areas the $139 million has gone to include healthcare for which Dick DeVos received the Art of Giving award from the Spectrum Health Foundation. He also has given to ArtPrize, a non-profit arts competition hosted annually in Grand Rapids. He’s also a key donor to political advocacy groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Action Institute and Constitutional Society. He also has donated to churches such as Mars Hill Bible Church and the Willow Creek Association.
Dick DeVos was born in 1955 and at age 19 was working with his father, Richard DeVos Sr. and his brothers Daniel and Douglas as well as sister Cheri at Amway Corporation. He also served as president of the Orlando Magic briefly when his family bought the ownership shares in 1991. He served as CEO of Amway for 10 years and also built its Alticor company, and the focus during this time was mostly on international sales. He had founded the Windquest Group in 1989 and made it his top priority in 2002.
Dick and Betsy have contributed quite a bit of their money to political candidates over the years, and in 2006 Dick DeVos decided to become one himself when he ran for governor. He didn’t win this election but he did become a highly recognized figure among conservative grassroots activists in the coming years. He backed Republican lawmakers in 2012 to pass a bill that became Michigan’s first right-to-work law. Dick DeVos does enjoy recreational activities including boating in the annual summer Chicago-Mackinac race on Lake Michigan.