Dick DeVos Puts Resources Back in Community

Dick DeVos may now be better known as the husband of U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, but he has had a tremendous career and impact in the Midwest and throughout the country. While he and his wife are taking part in a new chapter of their lives, what they do and continue to do has been focused on their community.


DeVos is part of the family that founded and runs Amway Corp. Amway sells health, beauty, and home-care products. His father Richard DeVos, along with Jay Van Andel, formed the company in 1959. They grew it from a small organization into a leading international corporation that has achieved annual sales of almost $10 billion. Richard DeVos, Jr., also known as Dick DeVos, became CEO of Amway in 1993 and served in that position until 2002.


Having strong roots in Michigan, DeVos wants to see what’s best for his hometown of Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas. Back in 1991, when a proposed convention center was to be built north of downtown, DeVos led the charge against it. He formed the group Grand Action, which consisted of leaders who encouraged the development of the central business district rather than the growth of areas outside of town. Ultimately, Grand Rapids built the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Place Convention Center, and the Grand Rapids City Market all within a central area, leading to revitalization and continued economic success.


DeVos, along with his wife Betsy, went on to create the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. This foundation has given away more than $135 million to various programs, many of which are in the education and health and human services fields. In 2006, their donation of $12.5 million helped fund the construction of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids.


Having run unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, DeVos is no stranger to politics. He ushered a 2012 law into place which changed the emphasis on union membership in the state. It made it no longer a requirement to join a union if one wanted to pursue a certain professional.


Education reform has also been a big priority of both Dick and Betsy DeVos. For years, they’ve campaigned for providing tax-funded vouchers to students who would like to attend private schools. In 2010, DeVos started the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The inspiration for founding the nations’ first public charter high school focused on aviation combined DeVos’ interest in flying along with his belief that students deserve to have a quality education.


DeVos is currently the president of The Windquest Group, an investment management firm that has holdings in various sectors and is exploring the opportunities in the sustainable energy industry.


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