Dick and Betsy DeVos made a surprising move not long after Betsy was selected to be the next Secretary of Education in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. They decided to finally let the public know just how much their philanthropy totaled and according to the information released at the confirmation hearing the DeVos’s have over $139 million. Only a small amount of that $139 million was given to political candidates though quite a bit has gone to political activist groups such as Hudson Institute and the Constitution Society.
Dick and Betsy DeVos’s philanthropy has been centered around education, healthcare, arts and political activism. Private and charter schools have been by far the largest group to benefit from the DeVos’s lifetime giving. Through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation in addition to the Education Freedom Fund and Children’s Scholarship Fund, many families have been able to minimize private school expenses tuition burdens. Some private schools that have been supported by the DeVos’s include Potter’s House and Grand Rapids Christian Academy. More recently the DeVos’s started supporting charter schools and were the founding members of the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This school has a curriculum in aviation as well as general studies and is a great prep school for college academics.
Dick and Betsy DeVos’s business involves investing and buying shares in Michigan retail, energy and tech companies at The Windquest Group. The Windquest Group also sponsors the West Michigan Aviation Academy and ArtPrize. Prior to founding The Windquest Group, Dick DeVos worked as a multilevel marketing executive at his family’s company, Amway Corporation. He served as Vice President of Operations for several years and then briefly left the company when he started The Windquest Group and served on the Board of Directors of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He returned as CEO of Amway in 1993 and led the company into a great foreign market expansion, and in his last year in 2002 Amway generated $4.5 billion in profits. Recently at The Windquest Group the DeVos’s selected Phil Dolci to run their subsidiary The Stowe Company and also bought Coppercraft Distillery in Holland.
Dick DeVos is a founding member of a commerce initiative for Grand Rapids known as Grand Action Committee. Grand Action has led developments in downtown Grand Rapids for arts, entertainment and civics. The DeVos’s are longtime Republican Party supporters and have been involved both as political candidates and outside contributors. Betsy was chair of the state Republican Party for several years and Dick was a gubernatorial candidate in the 2006 election which he lost to then incumbent Jennifer Granholm. He later supported lawmakers who passed right-to-work legislation in 2012 along with the backing of the Koch Foundation and Hudson Institute.