It is undoubtedly true that Dick DeVos and Betsy DeVos attract a lot of attention and criticism at the same time. Their unmatched political donations have been the latest to raise eyebrows. However, DeVos’ giving towards politics is nothing compared to their $139 million lifetime contributions. Before Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing, her contributions towards school choices and Republican candidates were heavily scrutinized. Born from a highly reputed family, Dick DeVos continued with his father’s dynasty, which has supported Republican candidates for several years. As a matter of fact, the family was ranked number 24th by Forbes in the list of Americas Top Givers in 2015. To date, the extended DeVos family has donated about $1.33 billion, which accounts for a quarter of their $5.2 billion fortune.
The Major Beneficiaries
Through their Foundation, Dick and Betsy funnel huge chunks of money towards education. In 2015, about 26 percent of their total contributions went to education. Also, the family foundation gave an additional three percent to groups that supported educational reforms. According to Dick, channeling such massive amounts of money to the education system is a reflection of their commitment to ensuring that kids who grow up in wrong ZIP codes have an equal chance to live the American dream. After education, DeVos focuses on arts and culture, which accounted for 21 percent of their total donations. Leadership and development, public policy, civic, churches, health and human services are among the other beneficiaries of the DeVos Foundation.
Critics have raised concern that charter and voucher school system advocated for by DeVoses drain off taxpayers’ money directed to traditional school systems. Another group argues that the family uses their charitable contributions and political muscles to sail their idea of voucher and charter schools, which are managed by for-profit organizations. Amid all these critics, the family has remained unshaken and clear that their contributions are transparent and accountable.
Dick DeVos Work History
Dick DeVos began his career at Amway Corp, a family organization where he served as the CEO. Since his young age, DeVos has been involved in several charitable activities. Dick DeVos has been a fierce supporter of voucher and charter school systems. DeVos has also been one of the biggest givers towards the Republican Party and conservative causes. By 2015, Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation had donated $139 million towards art and culture, education, leadership and development, health, churches and human services.
DeVos commitment to have vouchers for private schools has yielded some fruits as 24 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the idea. Moreover, the family commitment to education was rewarded when President Trump named Betsy DeVos as the secretary of education. Dick is also popularly known for developing the 2012 law that eliminated union membership as a requirement for employment in Michigan.