Dick DeVos has taken a great deal of pride in how he’s given his money to charities in Grand Rapids, but he’s never been one to be ostentatious about it. He’s the Chairman of The Windquest Group which has supported some of his philanthropies and has been a catalyst for many businesses in Michigan, and he’s been on the board of many think tanks that the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation also supports. His wife Betsy was chosen by President Donald Trump to be Secretary of Education thanks to the reform work that she and Dick have done, and in light of this nomination the DeVos’s finally disclosed that they have given around $139 million in their lifetime to charity, and much of this excludes political candidates they’ve donated to.
Dick is the son of Richard DeVos Sr., the co-founder of Amway Corporation. Amway Corporation is a multilevel marketing company that has helped many independent business owners establish their own sales businesses through reselling various consumer products. Dick developed quite a business acumen growing up, and after completing his degree at Northwood University he went to work under his father. He became a company vice president in 1984 and helped launch offices overseas. He briefly left the company in 1990 and founded The Windquest Group around that same time. He also served as president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic from 1991 to 1993 after his father had purchased the team, and in 1993 he became CEO of Amway. He served in that position until 2002 when he left to focus on running The Windquest Group.
The DeVos’s have given to several private schools including Potter’s House and Grand Rapids Christian School, and they’ve also established scholarship funds through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. They did try to start a program to establish school voucher and tax credit credits if passed in legislation, but it came up short of the needed votes. They did successfully start a charter school coalition at the Great Lakes Project, and later started a charter school of their own called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Dick and Betsy also have given to children’s hospitals, and Dick was given the Spectrum Health Foundation’s Award of Giving in 2006.
Dick and Betsy have also run for office several times including Betsy’s time as the Michigan Republican Party chairperson and Dick’s bid for the governorship in the 2006 election. He came up short in that race to incumbent Jennifer Granholm but continued to fight at the ground level for conservative changes. In 2012 his efforts paid off with the passing of a right-to-work law. Dick has shared some insights to his principles and beliefs through his book Rediscovering American Values.