Dick DeVos Changing Mindsets on Education Reforms through Advocacy and Philanthropy

For the DeVos family, innovative solutions are a means to end social problems. Former Amway President and 2006 Governor nominee on a Republican ticket, Dick DeVos is a proponent of the private-choice programs in the education sector. The program has so far benefited up to 250,000 students in about 17 states including Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.


Dick DeVos and wife Betsy realized the plight of low-income parents trying to access the best learning environment for children while visiting Porter House School. After several revisits at the DeVos began a program that supported individual students.


However, given the magnitude of the problem, individual scholarships were not a lasting solution. With this in mind, Dick DeVos expressed interest in the Michigan State Board of Education by running for office and won. Also, Dick championed for the pioneer charter school bill in Michigan passed in 1993. In 2000, Dick and Betsy lobbied for a constitutional amendment that would make room for vouchers also known as tax-credit solutions. The attempt was unsuccessful, but it renewed the DeVos resolve to make a difference.


Dick DeVos partnered with the late John Walton to start the All Children Matter organization and coordinated with the Alliance for School Choice to inform the public of the need for choice solutions. The movement also purposed to identify and enlighten potential candidates for Senate on the issues, assisting in campaigns, and drafting and pass laws once successful. Finally, the organizations helped implement the laws at the grassroots to ensure the children benefit.


The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation support programs and initiatives in leadership, arts, education, community, and justice. Dick DeVos actively participate in community work and co-chairs the Grand Action a program that intends to revamp downtown Grand Rapids. Dick volunteers on the boards of Project Clarity, Willow Creek Association, Grand Rapids Economic Club, West Michigan Aviation and Spectrum Health. The DeVos have supported the refurbishment of schools, hospitals, and market facilities. As the founder of the Education Freedom Fund, Dick DeVos has enabled better education prospects for underprivileged children awarding over 4000 scholarships.


Other than philanthropic pursuits, Dick DeVos has had a decorated career in the business field and has held various executive positions at Orlando Magic, The Windquest Group, and Amway. During the nine-year tenure as president of Amway, Dick was responsible for the company’s operations on six continents. Recently, Dick became part of the Federation of Aviation Administration Management Council after being appointed by the secretary of the US Department of Transportation.


To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.