An In-Depth Look at Dick DeVos, the Philanthropist cum Politician

Personal and Professional Life

Dick DeVos was born October 21, 1955 to Richard DeVos. He went to Forest Hills schools for his High school diploma before joining Northwood University for a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He subsequently enrolled in Wharton and later Harvard business schools but never graduated. He later married Betsy DeVos, the 11th United States Secretary of Education to whom they have four children. Since 1974, DeVos has been part of the family owned Amway marketing company. He served under sales and marketing, manufacturing, research and development. In 1984 he was appointed Amway’s vice-president. He was in charge of global sales; leading that component to account for over 50% of annual revenues across six years.

 

After his family’s acquisition of Orlando Magic in 1991, he was appointed CEO and club President. He served for a short period and in 1993, he was brought back to Amway as CEO and President. He led the company to fully globalize reaching six continents serving in excess of 50 countries. He oversaw the rebranding of Amway to Alticor in 2000. He later retired in 2002 to join The Windquest Group, having led the company to record sales of $4.5 billion. Dick has served in the Michigan State Board of Education, Grand Valley University Board of Control and also vied for the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial seat. He however lost to the incumbent, Jennifer Granholm in a tightly contested race that saw Dick ably marshal overwhelming support from GOP.

 

Philanthropy and Donations

Valued at $5.2 billion, the DeVoses have over the years donated a whopping $1.3 billion to charity. The family’s immersion in election campaign and countless charity donations saw the family add $113 million to this figure in recent times. $5.3 million in campaign donations to GOP and $11.6 million to charity within the last five years. In 2015 alone, the family donated in excess of $104 million to charity and campaigns placing them 24th on Forbes’ America’s Top Givers list. Both Betsy and Dick, were born in families well-engaged in philanthropy and politics hence their equally greater nature of donating. They greatly value education having donated $3million in 2015, which was 26% of their charitable donations. This was across disadvantaged and dependent schools to aiding in setting up an aviation training institution. The family has also donated to civic and community charities ($1.8 million), leadership ($1.5 million), health and humanity ($618,000), policy and churches ($488250).

 

The couple donated $12.5 million to the construction of the children hospital at Spectrum Health System. The $103 million hospital was named after Dick’s mother. The family has also immensely contributed to improving education. They have advocated for reforms to address the diminishing returns of the current education system. Their advocacy and philanthropy in the education sector culminated in Betsy DeVos nomination to the position of Secretary of Education by President Trump.