Dick DeVos was born heir to the Amway corporation in 1955. His father co-founded the wealthy company, making the Devos’ one of the most influential families in the state of Michigan. DeVos graduated from public high school before attending Northwood University. He married Betsy Prince shortly after; the daughter of a highly-influential, Michigan family.
Mr. DeVos began officially working for the Amway Corporation in 1974, though he grew up surrounded by the ‘family business.’ He would go on to become one of the company’s vice presidents, where he would help triple foreign sales. In 1993, he became Amway’s President and expanded its business to more than 50 countries. When the company saw significant restructuring, Dick would stay on for only a few more years before leaving to lead The Windquest Group, an investment management firm that would specialize in technology, manufacturing, and more.
Aside from Dick Devos’ many business ventures and talents, he and his wife Betsy have always been active in both political and philanthropic endeavors. As a politician and activist, Dick started his journey in 2006 when he was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education. He and his wife became champions for the school-voucher crusade: creating scholarships and sponsoring ballot-initiatives to provide more educational choice for families. Dick and Betsy believe that parents should not be restricted to a specific school district because of their financial situation. In 2012, Dick even became the engineer behind a new Michigan law that turned the state into a right-to-work state, where membership to a union is no longer required.
As philanthropists, Dick DeVos and his wife have been ranked as one of the largest charitable contributors in the country. They founded their own organization, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, in 1990. This foundation has donated millions of dollars to various artistic, religious, educational, and community organizations. In 2010, Dick even opened the country’s first aviation public charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Dick and Betsy have been advocates for their state in various other ways as well, like supporting ArtPrize, committing a substantial amount of money to the Kennedy Center Institute of Arts Management, and offering numerous types of scholarships.
Dick DeVos has dedicated his life to the state of Michigan and has been an advocate for its success for decades. In 1991, the city of Grand Rapids proposed a multi-purpose sports and convention area north of downtown. When DeVos caught wind of the idea, he immediately began lobbying against it; seeing this decision as detrimental to the city. Because of his lobbying efforts, the DeVos Place Convention Center, DeVos Performance Hall, City Market, and Michigan State University’s medical school would come to change the skyline forever (and the city with it).
With the state of Michigan thriving better than ever before and more than 24 states using a school-voucher-system, it seems Dick and his wife Betsy have done their job. But they aren’t done just yet.
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