Dick DeVos has been one of Michigan’s top entrepreneurs, growing companies such as Amway and now The Windquest Group into billion-dollar enterprises. But business isn’t the DeVos’s only passion, they also care very much about future Americans who they also hope become great entrepreneurs. Betsy DeVos was interviewed by Philanthropy Roundtable to share a little about the vision that she and Dick have. It actually started back when they were sending their own children to school and saw how difficult it was for some families to do so. They got involved with Potter’s House Christian School and started up scholarship programs under the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, and would later spearhead the Great Lakes Education Project.
Dick DeVos comes from a family that values strong work ethics, but also creativity and generosity. Richard DeVos, his father helped startup Amway Corporation, a multilevel marketing company that not only made profits from the products they manufactured, but also helped other aspiring businessmen resell those products and make income of their own. Dick learned the operations of the company, and after getting his education went to work at it. He eventually took over the company after his father stepped down in 1993, and ran the business for 10 years opening up all kinds of new doors.
But Dick and Betsy wanted to help give back to their community just as their parents had done, so they started up their family foundation and began sitting on the boards at many other charities. They’ve strongly supported school of choice for all children, and have helped start the Education Freedom Fund to support that cause. They’ve also given to local shelters and humanitarian causes, as well as local churches and conservative think tanks such as Heritage Foundation, Hudson Institute, and his alma mater Northwood University.
Dick and Betsy have always championed free market economics, and Dick is the author of “Rediscovering American Values,” a book that explains the importance of such values and moral fiber that has helped make the nation strong in the past. When he became dissatisfied with the direction Michigan was heading in 2006, he decided to run against Jennifer Granholm for the Governor’s seat. He didn’t succeed, but he continued to be involved in the state Republican Party promoting causes, and in 2012 he helped get a right-to-work law passed. Dick also helped start a charter school in Grand Rapids called the West Michigan Aviation Academy.