Dick and Betsy DeVos Generosity is Manifested Through Donations by the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation

Posted by Cameron on May 29, 2017 in Philantropist |

Dick and Betsy DeVos are well-known philanthropists whose giving extends across many industries. Through the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation, the couple has donated approximately $139 million over the years. Following Betsy’s nomination as the U.S Education Secretary, their giving was put under scrutiny, and the couple shed some light on the same. Both come from families and a culture that is mostly dominated by giving. In 2015, DeVos family led by Rich DeVos gave to charities a total of $104 million, making the family one of the top givers in America.


The Beneficiaries


The couple is known to support Republican campaigns, which amounted to $5.3 million over the last five years. Dick and Betsy have been keen advocators of charter schools and better education system for every kid regardless of their background. According to Dick, children from low-income families could not access quality education, which prompted them to act. They have over the years supported education reform, which takes up most of their donations. Out of $11.6 million donated in 2015, 26 percent went to education causes and 3 percent to education reform groups. In 2013, most donations went to education benefitting institutions, such as Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State University, Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Rehoboth Christian School, Northwood University, and Potter’s House. Their second largest donations go to Arts and Culture, which took 21 percent of their 2015 donations. Their aim is to invest in a better future for the arts. The couple had previously used $22 million to start the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. The other donations were as follows: 16 percent to civic and communities, 13 percent to leadership and development, 12 percent to public policy, 5 percent to health and human services, and 4 percent to churches.


Impact is Key


This kind of giving attracts both criticism and praises in equal measures. Some say that the charter schools and vouchers that they support are profit-based and that the report is aimed at covering their political donations. Dick, however, insists that the donations meet the required standards of a charitable organization and the main objective is to help and serve the people. What is paramount to them is making a positive impact on children’s lives and attitude as well as providing some comfort and satisfaction to the parents. The couple focuses on an area that they feel a big difference will be made and they do not dictate on how the beneficiaries use their donation.


About Dick DeVos


Dick DeVos has been the President and CEO of the Windquest Group based in Grand Rapids since 2002. Before this, he was the CEO of Amway Global from 1993 to 2002 and President and CEO of NBA’s Orlando Magic between 1991 and 1993.



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