To say that the DeVos family is a generous group of entrepreneurs could be considered an understatement. This Michigan family has given back in excess of $1.2 billion over their lifetimes, and $94 million in 2014 alone, putting them into the top 20 in Forbes’s list of top givers for that year. Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have made some of the most notable contributions to the Grand Rapids area, and to politically conservative groups around the nation. He was raised in a family that has had a heart for working together with others to help Grand Rapids become a great place to live, and as such he and Betsy have made the well-being of the city a priority.
Dick DeVos spent most of his business career helping run the family business, Amway Corporation. He started in 1974 when he was only 19, but he did the various managing jobs so well that he became a company vice president when he was only 29. When his father, who had headed up the business retired, Dick became the CEO, and under his leadership the company began to find new markets for business, and started opening up in over 50 countries. The business had done well enough that Dick stepped down in 2002 and joined the Windquest Group where he still works today.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos philanthropy has consisted of giving to a lot of Grand Rapids’s art centers, concert halls, libraries, museums, schools, and hospitals. Most notably, they support the Education Freedom Fund and have helped start organizations for school of choice. Dick DeVos has served on many boards, both for business and non-profit groups, and one of those boards is Grand Action. This committee is tasked with planning events and construction projects designed to rejuvenate downtown Grand Rapids.
Additionally, the DeVos’s have also served in Michigan’s Republican party both as active candidates and as contributors to conservative political causes. Betsy was chair of the state party at one time, while Dick decided to try to run for governor in 2006. The bid for the governorship was unsuccessful, but he has continued to fight for and get legislation passed in Lansing.