Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have given a substantial amount of money in their lifetimes, around $139 million. Much of their charitable giving is for education and the arts although they do give in other areas such as for health & human services and churches. The couple directs their donations through the foundation they created in 1979, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.
In just 2015 they gave away $11.6 million to various causes. $3 million of that went to educational causes as it is a priority to them. Dick has commented that the current system isn’t working when the zip code you grow up in is the main determinate in whether you receive a quality education or not. In order to give everyone a shot at the American dream it is important that funding is more equitable. Much of the dollars that they donate are to schools in their native Michigan but they do also donate to national causes and schools in other states.
The DeVos’ gave $2.4 million to support the arts in 2015. some of that went to support the DeVos Institute of Arts Management which is at the University of Maryland. This program is designed to enable the next generation of business leaders know how to efficiently run an art institution and how to successfully raise funds to support it.
For 2015 the rest of Dick and Betsy’s donations went to civic causes, in the amount of $1.8 million, $1.5 million for leadership and development, $1.3 million for public policy, $618,000 for health & human services, and $488,250 went to various churches.
Dick DeVos is an entrepreneur and businessman who was raised in Michigan. His father, Richard, co-founded Amway. After he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwood University he began his professional career working for Amway. He eventually worked his way up to the Vice President level where he led the company’s international efforts. During the time he oversaw this division of the company Amway’s international sales grew from only 5% of the company’s revenue to over 50%. He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of the company from 1993 to 2002.
In the late 1980’s Dick DeVos also founded The Windquest Group. This is privately held investment firm that primarily works in the fields of technology and manufacturing. The company is also heavily involved in alternative and renewable energy. One of the products they work with is the Green Machine which captures waste heat created during manufacturing and uses it to generate power.