Wealthy beneficiaries are important pillars of success for many nonprofit organizations. They contribute significant amounts of money, which are critical in helping the organizations meet their foundational objectives and ultimately make the desired positive impact in the society. While many of these beneficiaries have stayed in the background, some of them have come to fore in a bid to inspire more people to engage in philanthropic activities and support the causes they hold dear to their hearts. One such philanthropist who has lifted the veil on his family’s financial contributions towards philanthropic activities and causes he holds dear is Richard ‘Dick’ DeVos; an education reformist and philanthropist, and cofounder and current president of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation.
Funding the Pro-choice Education Reform Movement
It was recently revealed that together with his family, Dick DeVos had contributed a staggering $139 million in charity donations. This brought their overall contributions to charitable causes to an eye-catching figure of $1.33 billion in the past years. In the past year, the family’s combined contribution to charitable causes stood at $11 million. The recent figures shot the family onto the top of the list of the leading philanthropists. More telling is their amount of these funds that have been directed to a cause that Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy DeVos strongly support: education reform.
As a lifetime education reformist, Dick DeVos has directed much of their contributions to finance education reform initiatives especially in his home state of Michigan. Together with his wife, Mr. DeVos has led a spirited fight against the current uniform approach to education, commonly practiced in public schools. The funds were donated to various organizations dedicated to ensuring that children receive high quality education. Their dedicated work in Michigan has seen significant improvements in education standards in the state. Their pro-choice ideology has seen them contribute millions of dollars to support chart schools, which challenge the one-size-fits-all philosophy that has dominated the American public education sector. The charter school system that the family supports allows students and parents to go to schools of their own choosing.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation: Proponents of a New Dawn
Much of the charitable initiatives that Dick DeVos and his wife championed for mirror the foundational objective of the charitable organization they cofounded in 1989 in Michigan. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-headquartered nonprofit organization is dedicated to building strong communities through various empowering initiatives. In their bid to build healthier communities, the foundation has supported various programs on health, arts and other causes that touch on children’s issues such as children’s right to quality education. Art, in particular, strongly interests the family. The family has contributed over $20 million to an art institute at the Kennedy Center, which was later renamed in the honor of the couple. The couple has supported the annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize through finances and expertise.
There is no doubt that Dick and Betsy DeVos have had an equal share of love and hate from the public for their huge political donations. However, the amount that the duo contributes for political causes is nothing compared to what they give to charitable causes. According to the recent reports, Dick and Betsy have contributed a staggering $139 million to charitable causes.
The Michigan couple shed light on the millions of dollars that have been channeled through their foundation over the years. As it is the norm, every nominee must be scrutinized before they are declared fit to hold any public office. The couple had made numerous contributions to the Republican candidates, and to educational institutions that were put under scrutiny before they were cleared and the names forwarded to the relevant authorities for confirmation. Visit the website U.S. Department of Education to know more.
According to a report published on their Foundation’s website, the duo gave out $11.6 million in charitable causes in 2015 alone. The amount is double the $5.3 million in donations that the couple has given out from the year 2011. Dick and Betsy DeVos are part of a high profile families that have been supporting Republican politics for a long time. The founder of the Foundation, together with his four children gave out $104 million in charity donations in the year 2015. The family was ranked in the 24th position on the Forbes most recent Top Givers list.
According to reports released by the family, it is estimated that the extended DeVos family has donated more than a quarter ($1.33 billion) of their ($5.2 billion) fortune to charitable causes. Betsy DeVos is the daughter of the late Edgar Prince, a renowned industrialist in Holland. Edgar Prince was also widely known for his political and charitable giving.
The duo has a huge interest in the education sector, and that’s why a huge chunk of their donations have been channeled through this route. In 2015, they gave out more than $3 million to support educations, which accounted for 26 percent of their total donations that year. Additionally, the foundation also awarded $357,000 to groups that support education. Visit betsydevos.com to know more about Betsy.
About Dick DeVos
Dick has spent a huge part of his career life working at various executive positions at Amway, the Windquest Group, and the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Dick currently serves as the president of the Windquest Group. Dick served as the president of Amway from the year 1993 to 2002, where he was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing company’s operations in six continents and 50 countries. In his final term at Amway, he reported sales of $4.5 billion.
Dick DeVos runs and supports many charitable groups, alongside his wife, –Betsy. DeVos’ family is interested in helping the community in various ways. They invest most of their time and money in education, leadership, community development, art and human rights. Mr. DeVos recently revealed in an interview about the total donations from the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Dick and his wife have donated more than $139 million since they began their works of philanthropy.
Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. DeVos have faced public scrutiny as well as criticism for their contributions towards political causes. But most people aren’t aware that they give more to charitable organizations than to political groups. In 2015, Betsy and Dick DeVos made political contributions that amounted to $5.3 million. They offered more than $11.6 million to support charitable causes, within the same year. So why did Dick reveal these figures? He wanted to promote two virtues: Transparency and accountability. It had nothing to do with Betsy’s appointment as the US Education Secretary.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos family like to take part in philanthropic activities. They believe that the best way to build a better world is to give back to the community. The family’s foundation focuses a lot on education, especially the issue of school choice. Betsy DeVos has been fighting for reforms in the education system for many years. Dick has always offered her the support she needs to keep advocating for high-quality education. According to the couple, the government needs to make a few changes in the current education system. They believe that it would be great to allow all children to access education in their desired schools.
Aside from education, the foundation also supports art and culture. Betsy and Dick DeVos partnered with the University of Maryland to form the DeVos Institute of Arts. They want to nurture young artist and entrepreneurs through the programs they’ll offer at the facility. The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation also supports AFP, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, ArtPrize and several other organizations.
About Dick Devos
Dick DeVos Jr. is a philanthropist and entrepreneur. He lives with his family in Michigan. Dick holds a BBA from the Northwood University. He is the president of Windquest Group, an investment company based in Grand Rapid, MI. Also, he is Amway Corporation’s president. Richard “Dick” DeVos is the author of Rediscovering American Value. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sailing competitions.