Few people have been as influential on the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Dick DeVos. Dick DeVos is credited with helping transform the Grand Rapid skyline as well as making the Grand Rapids airport a major airline hub in the Midwestern United States. Through their donations to the GOP and contributions to various philanthropies, Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have reformed state education and labor laws and promoted health services and education in Michigan and throughout the United States.
In 1991, Dick DeVos was on track to become CEO of Amway Corporation. During this time, Grand Rapids was considering building a sports and convention center north of downtown Grand Rapids. Seeing what similar arenas had done to downtown Detroit, DeVos opposed the idea and began to lobby against it. DeVos and other business leaders that opposed the arena formed a group called Grand Action. Since its formation, Grand Action is credited with transforming the Grand Rapids Skyline, by driving construction of buildings such as The DeVos Place Convention Center and the Grand Rapids City Market. Dick DeVos also played a key role in expanding the Gerald Ford International Airport, making Grand Rapids a major airline hub in the Midwest.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation has donated $138.7 million dollars to promote arts and culture, leadership programs, and health services, including a $12.5 million-dollar donation toward the foundation of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids. One of their main passions is in providing educational opportunities to underprivileged families. Their efforts have included scholarships, promotion of charter schools in western Michigan, and the creation of an aviation charter high school at the Grand Rapids airport.
Dick and Betsy DeVos are major contributors to the GOP and have been involved in the reform of state education and labor laws. However, not all of their political ideas have been immediately successful. In 2000 their proposed amendment to create vouchers for students to attend private schools was rejected by voters. The duo persevered and played a role in the adoption of tax vouchers in other parts of the country, including Washington D.C.
Recently, Dick and Betsy DeVos have taken on major roles in Washington D.C. Dick’s involvement in the Grand Rapids airport development and his interest in aviation helped him get appointed to the FAA’s Management Advisory Council in 2017, where he will advise on policy, spending, and planning. The DeVos family’s efforts in education helped Betsy achieve the position of the United States Secretary of Education in 2017.
Beginning by reshaping Grand Rapids, Dick and Betsy DeVos have helped achieve reform of health services, labor laws, and education in Michigan. Through their continued efforts, the two are now serving roles in federal government positions, where they will continue to influence and change laws and policies on a national level.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.