Dick and Betsy Devos have contributed $139 million to charity in the course of their lives. In 2015 they donated $11.6 million to charity and they gave $5.3 million in campaign donations. They are part of a dynasty led my Dick Devos’s father Rich Devos who was one of the founders of Amway. According to Forbes the family has donated $1.33 billion in their lives.
Dick and Betsy Devos’s philanthropy is based on education. They donated $3 million to educational causes in 2015 and $357,000 to groups who support educational choice. According to Mr. Devos this is a reflection of their priority in the improvement of education. He believes the current system does not fulfill the American dream and that it had become a civil rights issue. He stated that children who grow up in certain zip codes are unable to achieve the necessary education to achieve the American dream. He addresses the failures of an educational system based on a philosophy of one size fits all.
Dick Devos believes despite the numerous teachers and administrators of excellence there is a better way to effectively reach all children. In the past the couples philanthropy benefitted mainly schools in Michigan. This included the Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, the Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning, the Ferris State University in Big Rapids, the West Michigan Aviation Academy, the Northwood University in Midland, the Rehoboth Christian School and Potter’s House in Wyoming.
Dick Devos feels the donations of his foundation meet the applicable criteria for charitable organizations and are donated to give help to individuals directly. He has stated he is not trying to advance or advocate a political agenda but simply trying to help people.
Current society is in the midst of economic transition and a technological revolution that is changing the face of the nation. A magnitude of this strength has not been experienced since the 20th century began and it is a time when leaders are being challenged.
Crain’s Detroit Business is celebrating the top change makers in Michigan for the very first time. These are leaders who are innovative, influential and are helping their communities and companies during a time of harsh changes. One of these dynamic individuals is Dick Devos. The selection of the leaders for 2017 centers around leaders with promise whose work has been instrumental in making positive changes. Leaders taking their organizations in completely new directions and transforming their communities.
The list is broad and includes individuals who have reinvented politics and government, the champions for nonprofit organizations, technical gurus and corporate CEO’s. Dick Devos has been named the wallet of western Michigan and his inclusion on this list is an honor.