For Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy, life is about being true change makers. Mr. DeVos, who was at one time slated to become a CEO at his family’s Amway Corp, decided helping people was a better option for him, Michigan and the world. He has never stopped working to make the lives better for people in Michigan and now across the country.
One of Mr. DeVos’ biggest accomplishments happened in 1991. A plan was publically floating around Grand Rapids to build a multi-purpose convention and sports arena north of downtown. When Mr. DeVos heard this, he picked up the phone and immediately began lobbying against the plan.
Mr. DeVos worried the convention and arena plan would be detrimental to Grand Rapids’ downtown area. Both the Palace of Auburn Hills and Pontiac Silverdome had been detrimental to Detroit in the 1970s. According to Mr. DeVos, that lesson had not been lost of the people of Grand Rapids and him in particular.
Instead, Mr. DeVos championed for the sports facility to be outside the Grand Rapids’ central business district. He formed an organization called Grand Action. The organization was filled with business leaders who were over the construction of places like the DeVos Performance Hall, DeVos Place Convention Center and Van Andel Arena. Those were the handful of places credited with changing the skyline of the city.
Mr. DeVos has Spent Most of His Adult Live Attempting to Improve the Lives of Other People
Mr. and Mrs. DeVos have spent most of their lives working to improve lives of other people by changing policies and institutions. They are considered GOP mega-donors. Mr. DeVos’ political influence has been a catalyst for major change for labor and education. His wife’s influence has done the same by successfully expanding charter schools. She is now the nation’s education secretary.
Mr. DeVos has spent his time changing the 2012 law that change Michigan, his hometown, from the birthplace of organized labor to a right-to-work state. The latter does not require union membership as a condition of employment.
Mr. DeVos’ Influence Reaches Beyond Politics
Yes, Mr. DeVos works on conservative and Republican causes. In fact, he supports quite a few of them. However, he focuses on more than these causes. For instance, from 1989 to 2015, he and his wife, through their foundation, reportedly gave away about $138.7 million to various human services, churches, arts and culture and leadership programs. He’s worked to change the policies regarding charter schools. Mr. DeVos has even opened his own charter school to help low-income students. The aviation charter high school is located at Grand Rapids International Airport.
Mr. DeVos is Focus on Successes that Help People Improve their Lives
Mr. DeVos understands that philosophies do not always match the public’s philosophies. If fact, he has suffered some setbacks. In 2000, the state voters rejected the constitutional amendment backed by the DeVos to create tax-funded school vouchers. That has not stopped Mr. DeVos from working hard to improve the lives of people who need help the most.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.