Dick and Betsy Devos established their charitable giving fund, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, in 1989. Dick recently revealed that since then they have given almost $139 million to a large number of charities and nonprofits with an emphasis on education, healthcare, arts, and community. In just 2015 the foundation provided $11.6 million in funds for charities. Combined with the rest of the DeVos family they have collectively given $1.33 billion and are ranked #24 in Forbe’s 2015 list of America’s Top Givers.
Due to their focus on education, the couple donated over $3 million in 2015 to various educational causes and another $357,000 to support groups fighting for education reform. Dick DeVos has commented that he doesn’t see that the current system is helping children fulfill the American Dream and additionally sees the issue as a civil rights problem. If a child doesn’t grow up in the “right” zip code they simply don’t have access to a quality education. Some of the educations charities that the foundation provided with funding in 2015 includes the Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, Northwood University in Midland, and the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The academy they support provides high school students with an education that prepares them for a career in the aviation industry, from plane maintenance, to engineering, to earning a pilot’s license.
Another focus of the DeVos Foundation is in arts and culture. In 2015 they donated more than $2.4 million to a number of causes designed to support artists as well as to strengthen the business side of the industry. They had previously given $22 million in order to create the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. The program aims to inform students studying arts management on how to run an art institution as well as how to raise funds.
Dick DeVos has talked about bringing in their children for their input on where to donate money that will have the most positive impact. In a recent donation, his kids didn’t think he was providing enough to a cause to really make a difference. Dick agreed that they were right and that they could do more and so they did by providing sufficient funds to fully realize the ideals of the charity.
Dick DeVos started his career at Amway in 1974, served in various Vice Presidential positions, and was Chief Executive Officer of the company from 1993 to 2002. Dick is also a part owner of the NBA Orlando Magic team. Dick is the Chief Executive Officer of The Windquest Group, an investment firm he founded that specializes in the fields of technology, clean-tech industry, hospitality, manufacturing, and nonprofits.