Dick DeVos’s History As A Businessman, Philanthropist And Political Organizer

It’s really hard to say what Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr. is about in only a few words because he is about so much. From running a big corporation and starting up his own business on the side to organizing economic development committees, serving on multiple education administrative boards, fundraising for political candidates and and even being involved with art competitions and sailing races, it never seems to end with DeVos. His most recent return to the national stage happened when his wife, Betsy Prince DeVos was chosen to become the 11th US Secretary of Education. That’s only one of a handful of events dotting the DeVos’s timeline.


Dick DeVos was influenced by his father, Richard DeVos Sr. in business and philanthropy as DeVos Sr. has started numerous foundations of his own and began the DeVos’s main company, Amway Corporation. Dick DeVos achieved his education in business and economics from Northwood University before beginning a 20 plus year career at Amway. It culminated with him becoming CEO in 1993 and building a new partner company known as Alticor during the 10 years he ran Amway. His main business focus has been investing through the financial holding company he and Betsy started known as The Windquest Group. This company is spurred growth in renewable energy initiatives, boxed water technology, home storage solutions and several non-profit groups including ArtPrize.


Dick DeVos began his work in education in 1990 when he ran for the Michigan State Board of Education and held office there for 2 years. He and Betsy began organizing grassroots-based scholarship programs for K-12 private schools, and in the 2000 election even funded a voucher and credit measure that could amend the state’s constitution, though it did not pass. He also became a founding partner of the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010.


Dick DeVos also brought Grand Rapids leaders together to form Grand Action Committee, a civic organization that was started when Dick DeVos and his friend Steve Van Andel pushed to keep construction of an arena within the downtown of Grand Rapids. He also gave over $20 million to complete a children’s hospital in 2006, and subsequently won the Art of Giving award for it. He’s served with Betsy on the Michigan Republican Party’s various campaign committees, and in 2006 even entered the race for governor, just coming up short in that endeavor. DeVos is also the author of 1998’s New York Time’s top-rated seller “Rediscovering American Values.”


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