Dick and Betsy DeVos are a true power couple. The 59 year old Betsy DeVos and 61 year old Dick DeVos have been known to exercise their influence in a variety of arenas, including not only politics but also philanthropy.
The influence that Dick DeVos had started out in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the year 1991, he was against the plan to build a multi-purpose arena for sports and other sorts of convention events close to downtown. At the time, he was on track to follow his father’s footsteps and be the CEO of Amway, a path that he did not ultimately end up continuing down even though he was the CEO of the company from 1993 to 2002.
He felt strongly against the building of this arena, so he started to lobby against it. He thought that it would be very bad for the downtown area to create this building and add it to the skyline. His initial lobbying precipitated the formation of a group of business leaders who referred to themselves as Grand Action. This group actually ended up having a profound influence on the skyline of the city of Grand Rapids, as they opposed the building of several projects and were responsible for the building of others.
Neither Dick nor Betsy DeVos comes from any sort of a rags-to-riches story, as they were both heirs to their own respective family fortunes. However, instead of coasting on their wealth for their entire lives, they decided to become activists as adults. They have put a great deal of energy in their adult lives into instituting change where they believe it matters. They are both mega donors to the Republican party and have had significant political influences in different areas of the law, particularly laws pertaining to labor and education.
Dick DeVos was responsible for the law that made Michigan into a right to work state that did not require union membership in order for a person to be employed. His wife focused more on expansion of charter schools in the United States. However, this couple has had more influence than their influences on politics and causes that they are supporting for the Republican Party. They have also engaged in a great deal of philanthropy, as their Foundation reported donating approximately 138.7 million dollars to various causes between the years 1989 and 2015. These causes were related to human services, health, arts and culture, churches, leadership programs, policy initiatives, and more. One of their more notable donations is their donation of 12.5 million dollars to the construction of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids in 2006.
They have also done a great deal for education reform, with Betsy DeVos having expanded charter schools to 24 states around the country. Washington DC has also been affected by her push for charter schools.
Though this couple has not been successful in all of their endeavors to institute change, they have had quite an influence and will likely continue to have an influence in the future.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.