It is obvious that Dick DeVos and Betsy DeVos receive a lot of attention and criticism for their big political donations. Interesting to take note of, the lifetime contribution of the two add up to nearly $139 million. From the information on the DeVos family website, in 2015, they gave out $11.6 million in charitable donations. This is double the amount that Betsy DeVos reported to the federal government during vetting for the position of the Secretary of Education. Betsy and Dick are from a dynasty family that has played a role in the Republican politics for many years.
The philanthropic engagements of Dick and Betsy show that education is a priority to them. This is evident from the amount of money donated by the two towards this sector. In 2015, 26% of their contribution went towards the support of education. They also awarded $ 357000 to groups that support reform of education. The two are dedicated to improving education. They realized that the current system does not fulfill the American dream. DeVos says that kids who are growing up in the wrong ZIP codes are not able to achieve the quality education that can allow them to live the American dream and that access to education is a civil rights problem. He went ahead to say that many exceptional administrators and teachers are hard working and have done fantastic work, but there is still a lot that can be done to help the teachers become more efficient and productive in their work.
This report does not give a detailed breakdown of the beneficiaries of the couple’s donations in 2015. According to DeVos, the schools that they select to fund are those that have adult support, academic rigor, and accountability. The DeVos are the patrons of the West Michigan Aviation Academy. They attract big names to the school like Apollo astronauts and George W Bush.
The DeVos launched the country’s first aviation themed charter school at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Last year, the school produced a total of 15 licensed pilots. The school focuses on robotics, aeronautical engineering, and STEM. The school accommodates students from seven different countries. Out of these, one-third are economically disadvantaged, and 40% are minorities. On average, the school’s graduation rate is 86%. According to Dick DeVos, students are doing very well when it comes to academic tests, but it is also important to check on their views of the world and attitude as well as the comfort of having supporting parents.
Dick DeVos is the son of Richard DeVos, a man who is recognized as one of the top one hundred richest people in the world. His net worth is $ 5.1 billion. He has worked in several executive positions at Amway.
Dick is currently the president of Windquest Group. He was the president of Amway from 1993 to 2002, and during this time, he was accountable for all operations of the company in fifty countries. Under Dick DeVos’ leadership, the company opened new markets and its international sales grew and exceeded the domestic sales for the first time since the company was formed.