Dick DeVos is a highly successful entrepreneur who was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955. He’s been a philanthropist his entire adult life but has never lifted the veil of just how much he and his wife, Betsy DeVos, have given away over the years through their Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. In a recent interview he revealed that they have given away close to $140 million.
The largest type of donation Dick DeVos makes is to educational causes and in 2015 he and Betsy gave $11.6 million to nonprofits in that industry. He is a strong supporter of educational reform as he says the current public school system is fundamentally broken. Children in rich zip codes receive a great education while those in a zip code made up of a lot of low-income families receive few resources or support. This is inherently unfair to poor children and is a system that Dick has dedicated large amounts of money to change. He believes that parents should have a choice in what schools their children attend including private and charter schools which have been shown to provide a much better education than public schools do.
In 2015, the Devos’ gave $2.4 million to art & culture nonprofits. They support ArtPrize which is an art competition that has taken place in Grand Rapids since 2009. They also support the Kennedy Center Institute of Arts Management which is developing the next generation of business leaders in the arts & culture industry.
Dick DeVos’ father is Richard DeVos, a co-founder of the international firm Amway. He joined Amway himself after graduating from Northwood University with a degree in Business Administration. He was involved in many aspects of the company including sales, finance, manufacturing and research & development. In 1984 he was named one of the company Vice President’s and he was instrumental in greatly increasing Amway’s international sales. In 1993 he was named the company’s President when he succeeded his father in this position.
The Windquest Group is a privately held investment firm that was co-founded by Dick and Betsy DeVos in 1989. This company primarily invests in manufacturing and technology firms. They were an early investor in alternative energy and hired a specialist in this industry in order to be successful in it. Dick has said that sustainability is the wave of the future. The company’s he invests in need to be both environmentally and economically sustainable. He has said that he doesn’t invest in companies that rely on subsidies and tax credits because once those go away the company will inevitably fail. He only invests in companies that don’t rely on government handouts in order to be successful