How Dick DeVos Earned Respect in Business, Philanthropy, and Politics

Born on October 21, 1955, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dick DeVos made a name for himself in the American business, politics and philanthropy worlds. He was named Richard Marvin DeVos Jr. after his father, Richard Marvin DeVos, who is a legendary businessperson, billionaire, and Amway’s co-founder. Dick’s wife is the current US education secretary, Betsy DeVos. He obtained his business administration undergraduate degree from Northwood University. He also earned honorary doctorates from Northwood University, Groove City College and Grove City College for his contributions to the business community. His involvement with Amway provided him exposure on how the business world works. He also held executive positions at Orlando Magic, Alticor, and the Windquest Group. He became part of Orlando Magic’s management team after his dad acquired the ownership rights of the NBA franchise. He also oversees Windquest’s investment interests in technology and manufacturing.


Involvement in Politics and Activism


Dick DeVos served for two years on the Michigan State Board of Education. Governor John Engler also appointed him in 1996 as a member of Grand Valley State University’s board of control. Dick and Betsy DeVos have publicly shown their support for school vouchers. They donated $7.5 million to the Education Freedom Fund. The two business executives were also elected to serve in the position of chairperson of the well-known Education Freedom Fund, which offers scholarships to needy students in Michigan. In 2005, Dick made a public announcement regarding his intentions to participate in the Michigan gubernatorial race. One year after the announcement, he took part in the race but did not win. Dick was also among a team of experts, which comprised of Jimmy Hoffa and James Hoffa, discussing the role played by unions. During the discussion, he pointed out that unions represent the interests of job creators and workers.


Charity Work


Dick DeVos currently serves as president of the DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation’s donations are geared towards helping artistic, community, religious and educational organizations. Its beneficiaries include ArtPrize, the American Education Reform Council, Grand Rapids Christian Schools and the Hugh Michael Beahan Foundation. Dick was also inspired by his wife to open America’s first public charter high school providing aviation courses. The school, West Michigan Aviation Academy, was officially opened in 2010. The DeVos family rolled out the Dick and Betsy DeVos Scholarship back in 2008. This fund seeks to support students who wish to enroll in the MS, MBA and MA programs offered at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The family also rolled out a scholarship for students who were interested in enrolling in combined BBA/MBA or MBA programs offered at Northwood University.


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