April 13, 2017

Philanthropy for Philanthropy’s Sake: Dick DeVos

When it comes to philanthropy, there are few people that do it better than Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy. Being the son of the co-founder of Amway, Rich DeVos, Dick has been able to use his families fortune to help those that are struggling through life. He and his wife have made over $11 million in contributions to charities in the past year, and the DeVos family as a whole as given nearly $1.33 billion over the past several decades. They are the definition of a philanthropy family.


When it comes to giving back, Dick DeVos finds that the most important organizations are those that help with the education of children and the support of teachers. DeVos believes that the system in American education these days is broken. He sees the system as not being able to truly fulfill the goal of giving every child the American Dream. For him, this is more a civil rights issue than anything, and he wants to be able to give back to make the American Dream a real possibility for students. He also wants to give to organizations that help teachers grow and learn themselves while also providing an outstanding educational experience to students.


Dick DeVos has donated nearly $3 million to education in just the last year, including donations to his alma mater Northwood University in Midland, Potter’s House in Wyoming, the West Michigan Aviation Academy, and Rehoboth Christian School. He also helped to create his very own charter school with an aviation theme. This school, which is located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, fosters to minority and economically challenged students, teaching them the normal STEM courses and aeronautical engineering. This school has an 86 percent graduation rate and had a graduating class of 15 students in 2016.


Dick DeVos also sees the arts and culture as extremely important, donating $2.4 million to them in 2015. Specifically, he and his wife view art management as pivotal to the success and future of the global arts community. They have donated millions of dollars to the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland over the past decade.


Whether it is helping give children a world-class education, teachers the tools they need to teach, or the arts community the ability to go on into the future, the DeVos family has been there to support them every step of the way. They make donations because they want the world to be a better place, and they always follow through on their promises.