Dick DeVos and his wife have attracted a lot of attention for their huge political donations. But the contributions that have gone towards politics are no match to their charitable donations that amount to almost $139 million. As a nominee for the position of U.S. secretary of education, the contributions of Betsy DeVos are under a lot of scrutiny pending the confirmation hearings due on 11th January, 2017. In light of this event, the couple has decided to disclose the millions they have donated through their family foundation.
History of the DeVos Family Contributions
I find it interesting and admirable that in 2015, the DeVos family donated $11.6 million, double the amount it had contributed in the past five years. The family belongs to a dynasty whose involvement in politics dates back a few decades when Dick’s father was running things. The family’s total contribution of $104 million in 2015, made them attain position 24 in Forbes list of America’s biggest givers. Relying on information supplied by the DeVos family, Forbes concluded that the family’s lifetime contributions stood at $1.33 billion which is a quarter of its fortune-$5.2 billion. Besty DeVos, the daughter of the late Edgar Prince, a Holland industrialist, also belongs to family that is big on charitable and political contributions.
The Motivation of the DeVos Family’s Philanthropic Contributions
I think the philanthropic activities by the DeVos family show how important they consider education in improving the lives of Americans. In 2015 alone, the couple gave $3 million for educational programs. Apart from that, the couple donated $357,000 to initiatives that supported reforms in education.
DeVos says that the aim of choice in the education system is to tackle the short comings of public education and is not a criticism of public school teachers or education administrators. The motive behind his philanthropic activities in private schools is to make teachers/education administrators more effective in reaching out to students.
The DeVos foundation‘s tax records show that some of the main beneficiaries of their philanthropic activities in 2013 were Grand Rapids College of Cinematic Arts, Rehoboth Christian School, Potter’s House, and the West Michigan Academy of Aviation.
Apart from education, the couple’s other focus is Arts and Culture. According to their records, in 2015, they gave over $2.4 million towards Art initiatives.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos was president of Amway in 1993-2002. As president, he was in charge of all the firm’s operations in six continents. During his tenure, Anway sales were a record $4.5 billion. DeVos also became CEO and president of Orlando Magic after his family bought the team. He held the position from 1991 to 1994. Apart from his business career, DeVos has been involved in community initiatives. DeVos established an Education Freedom Fund, the West Michigan Aviation Academy that granted over 4,000 scholarships to the underprivileged kids in Michigan. In 1997, Dick published “Rediscovering American Values“, a New York best seller that has been reproduced in 7 languages.