As a Grand Rapids-based couple, Dick and Betsy DeVos have supported their community through several charitable initiatives. Since they began contributing money towards charity, they have spent about $139 million. In 2015, the couple reportedly spent $11.6 million in charity donations. Besides education, the couple also donates to arts and culture programs. Dick and Betsy made news when they contributed more than $2.4 million to arts and culture programs in 2015.
Betsy DeVos is renowned for her role in President Donald Trump’s government as the U.S Education Secretary. She usually contributes to education programs and Republican Party candidates. Betsy’s father was a prominent Holland industrialist known as Edgar Prince. Her father was also known for his charity contributions towards education. In 2015, her family spent more than $3 million in supporting educational programs.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos, on the other hand, has supported Republican Party politics for years. He is also the son of Rich DeVos, who co-founded Amway. The DeVos family ranks number 24 on the “America’s Top Givers” list compiled by Forbes Magazine. Forbes also pointed out that the DeVos family has spent $1.33 billion in charity and their fortune is estimated at $5.2 billion. Dick is also a partial owner of the Orlando Magic, a basketball franchise that was bought by his family. He attended Forest Hills for his high school education and later earned a business administration degree from Northwood University.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation usually contribute $357,000 to non-profit organizations that support education reform programs. Dick spoke to The Grand Rapids Press regarding the initiatives that his organization supports. He said that the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation targets American children born in poverty and who lack access to education because of poverty. Dick and DeVos are the brains behind the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Their charitable contributions are usually documented on the organization’s website.
Major beneficiaries of funds provided by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation are West Michigan Aviation Academy that received $200,000 and Potter’s House in Wyoming that received $301,000. Other beneficiaries are the Rehoboth Christian School, Northwood University in Midland and Detroit Charter School Company.
West Michigan Aviation Academy
Dick and Betsy DeVos advocated for the construction and launch of the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This advocacy was part of their support for education reform programs in Michigan State. The school was launched as the first charter school in the US that provides students with aviation related learning programs. The school also conducts its aviation practical lessons on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport grounds. Dick and Betsy have held several fundraisers at the school that featured guest speakers such as Apollo astronauts and retired US President George W. Bush. Over 15 licensed pilots have graduated from the West Michigan Aviation Academy.