Dick DeVos has recently been appointed to a top civilian panel monitoring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). DeVos is the oldest son of Amway founder Rich DeVos and husband of U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Dick DeVos is the ex-CEO of Amway and has been involved in many philanthropic endeavors.
Self-described aviation geek and pilot, DeVos has been credited with bringing SouthWest airlines to Grand Rapids. He has been instrumental in raising around $130 million in donations for five civic buildings in downtown Grand Rapids.
Dick DeVos has always been involved in the advancement of Grand Rapids. In 1991, he objected to the construction of a multi-purpose sports and convention arena in north downtown. He believed that this sports facility would be detrimental to downtown Grand Rapids as had been witnessed in other places such as Detroit. DeVos’s efforts led to the creation of “Grand Action,” a team of business leaders who are credited with changing the Grand Rapids skyline.
Dick DeVos and Betsy Devos founded the foundation called Great Lakes Education which is a school choice advocacy group. This organization along with others has been successful in fighting a proposal to form a committee to decide about opening schools. Betsy believes that the answer to the problems in the education system lies in local control which means listening to parents and offering them more choices.
The DeVos’s influence extends well-beyond Republican politics and the conservative causes they are known to support. The DeVos family has contributed more than $138 million to leadership programs, arts, and health and human services. The couple made the most significant donation of $12.5 million towards the 2006 construction of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, named after Dick’s mother, Helen DeVos.
The DeVos have not always been successful in gathering favorable public opinion. In fact, voters rejected the DeVos-sponsored constitutional amendment to have tax-funded vouchers enabling students to attend private schools in 2000. Six years later, Dick lost an expensive campaign for governor.
These setbacks have not stopped the DeVos’s to advocate the causes close to their hearts tirelessly. The tax-funded vouchers for students were eventually instated in some form in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
Their efforts towards education and other social causes have led Betsy DeVos to be appointed as the U.S. Education secretary while Dick DeVos will be a part of the FAA. Learn more: https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-01-10/michigan-charter-school-backed-by-devos-growing