Dick and Betsy DeVos: A Passion for Philanthropy
Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, are best known for their business and political accomplishments. Betsy DeVos is currently serving as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. She has worked her entire life for education reform in America prior to receiving this distinguished appointment. Dick DeVos is best known for his leadership at Amway Corporation where he grew the consumer goods distribution company’s global footprint.
However, the couple is also dedicated to philanthropy and has brought about an immense amount of change through their contributions. The couple founded The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation with the goal of expanding and managing their large amount of charitable giving. The two have donated millions of dollars to worthy causes. They have frequently said that with their own financial blessings comes the responsibility to make the world better for others. They seek to follow in the footsteps of their parents, who were both dedicated to giving back to others whenever possible.
Betsy DeVos recently sat down with Philanthropy Roundtable to discuss the Foundation’s giving goals and her personal philanthropic goals. She spoke about how important giving back was to her family. Her focus was on providing a better quality of education throughout the United States. She strives especially hard to focus on the quality of education in low income areas where families may have limited access to their choice of schools.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation has given to a variety of charities spanning many sectors. Betsy’s passion for education led her to focus on a variety of programs in the education sector. She frequently gives to organizations that promote greater options in school choice. Having more choices in where they send their children to school is critical for low income families. She also focuses on giving to Charter School programs and ones that promote school vouchers in schools, another item of need for low income families.
Dick DeVos is very active in his community in many leadership capacities. He was a notable leader in the revitalization of Grand Rapids’ downtown area and also served as a board member of Spectrum Health, West Michigan Aviation Academy and the Grand Rapids Economic Club. The Grand Rapids downtown revitalization brought about things like a $75 million arena downtown, a $212 million convention center, a $90 million medical school and major improvements to the local healthcare system. Dick DeVos started the Education Freedom Fund to provide scholarships to children from underprivileged families throughout Michigan. The fund has awarded over 4,000 scholarships to families in financial need.
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