Dick and Betsy DeVos have gained a lot of attention and criticism concerning their political donations. However, the couple has earned fame from their charitable contributions of nearly $139 million. In 2015, Dick and Betsy DeVos donated $11.6 million to charitable contributions. This contribution doubled the $5.3 million in campaign donations over the past five years.
The DeVoses are a high-profile part of a renowned family empire that has been involved in Republican politics, led by Rich DeVos, Dick’s dad. In 2015, Rich contributed $104 million in charity donations, landing the family in 24th position on Forbes’ list titled “America’s Top Givers.” Betsy DeVos also comes from a family that donates for political and charitable purposes. Moreover, the family donated $1.33 billion over its lifetime.
The Education Sector
Dick and Betsy DeVos prioritize education in their philanthropy, for instance, they donated more than $3 million for educational causes in 2015. The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation also awarded $357,000 to support education reform groups. Critics argue that the charters schools and vouchers that are championed by the DeVoses siphon tax dollars from public schools. However, Dick insists that the goal of choice is to address the reasons for the failure of the one-size-fits-all strategy in the public education platform.
In 2013, the couple benefited West Michigan Aviation Academy ($315,000), and Ferris State University based in Big Rapids ($100,000). Critics argue that the couple deploys political and charitable donations to pursue their education agenda through the promotion of vouchers and charter schools. Conversely, DeVos maintains that the foundation’s contributions comply with the criteria of charitable organizations. Five years ago, Dick and Betsy DeVos launched the first aviation-themed charter school in the U.S. on the grounds of the prestigious Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
The Other Philanthropic Sector
The couple is also focused on Art & Culture where they donated more than $2.4 million in 2015. They donated $22 million to launch the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the prominent University of Maryland. The generosity of the DeVoses led them to contribute $1 million to support the global leadership summit of the Chicago-area church to foster leadership development.
Dick DeVos has been the president of the Windquest Group since 2002 to-date. He founded West Michigan Aviation Academy, in September 2012, and has been serving as the chairman of the institution. Dick has been serving as the co-chairman of Grand Action Committee from 1992 to-date. He is also the current vice-chairman of the Willow Creek Association. Dick is an esteemed member of the board of directors of Michigan Chamber of Commerce.