Dick DeVos is hitting the headlines again with his philanthropy. This time, he has given away a record amount for charity as donations. In the year 2015, he donated $11.6 million that is almost the double of his political contributions and campaign donations for the last five years. Dick and his wife Betsy DeVos are particular in giving away their wealth for a cause. Interestingly, both of them have together contributed $139 during their lifetime, and most of these contributions were through Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, a foundation set up by them.
The DeVos family reportedly contributed $1.33 billion in total as part of philanthropy. It should be noted that the contributions are almost a quarter of the total family wealth of $5.2 billion. This includes the contribution of his father Richard DeVos, the co-founder and former CEO of Amway. Richard and the DeVos family contributions amount to $104 million in 2015 alone. To the family, it is not about what they wear or what car they drive, but interested in how much they give. The simple philosophy is being translated into noble acts that changes the lives of millions of people.
When it comes to Dick and Betsy, they give top priority to education. Out of the $11.6 million, $3 million gone to education along with $357,000 for organizations that work for education reforms. Dick believes that the current education system is not fulfilling the American dream and becomes a civil rights problem. “Kids born and brought up in the wrong ZIP codes are not able to follow the American dream and not to get the education required to fulfill the American dream,” he said.
Apart from supporting education, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation also donates to civil, artistic and free-market organizations. Kids Hope the USA, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, ArtPrize Grand Rapids, and many more organizations and institutions received their contributions.
Dick was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and completed his education from Northwood University and Harvard Business School before joining the family business. He joined Amway in 1974 and held many positions from research and development to sales. After ten years, he became Vice President of the firm with the responsibility of international supervision that helped the firm to increase its reach substantially. When the family bought NBA team Orlando Magic in 1991, he took the responsibility of it as President and CEO. In 1993, he returned to Amway as President and helped the firm to restructure to create a new parent firm, Alticor. He retired from Alticor in 2002 and joined The Windquest Group as President. It is a private investment management firm that has holdings in manufacturing, technology, etc. Under him, the firm gives more preference to environmentally sustainable projects.