Dick DeVos is a man of many passions, and that is definitely demonstrated in his willingness to work for his family, his business and his community. One of the areas where this drive to succeed was on full display was demonstrated in 1991, when there was a plan floated by Grand Rapids lawmakers to build a large multi-purpose in a suburb north of downtown. DeVos realized this was a terrible idea simply because he saw the economic effects of Detroit’s decision to build sports arenas for the Pistons and Lions in suburbs instead of right in town. Needless to say, he picked up the phone and started calling in some favors, lobbying as strongly as he could against the idea. It worked out well for both the DeVoses and for Grand Rapids. Moreover, it was the start of greater things for Dick and Betsy DeVos.
His social activism would eventually lead to the construction of such notable Grand Rapids landmarks as the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Performance Hall, the medical school affiliated with Michigan State University and the Grand Rapids City Market.
If the only contribution this power couple had been able to offer to the greater Grand Rapids area was that, it would have been impressive. However, they did much more than that and they are now influencing politics on a national level as well.
First of all, from 1989 to 2015 the Dick DeVos Family Foundation became well-known for giving away as much as $138 million to initiatives such as the churches, health and human service organizations, arts and culture operations, education reform initiatives and private school scholarships. Secondly, the DeVos family is also well-known for the causes they champion. Dick DeVos has always had a passion for aviation, and he took his love of education reform and combined the two interests, founding an aviation charter school at the Grand Rapids Airport. Either way, he has had a few bumps in the road, including an unsuccessful run for Michigan governor against Jennifer Granholm in 2006. However, both he and his wife picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and continued to work on education reform.
They continued to work on their advocacy for private school vouchers, and it not only has led to a sea-change and difference of opinion nationwide, but it also culminated in Betsy DeVos becoming the secretary of education under the current Trump Administration. There is no question about it; if the DeVos has anything to do about it, the education system in this nation is definitely going to change for the better. We might even start catching up to other nations somewhat quickly too! This is what the power of advocacy can do.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.