Some may know Dick DeVos best as the husband of the US Secretary of Education, a description that might rain on the parade of some men. DeVos and his wife Betsy collaborate closely on so many of the causes they promote, however, it’s fitting to refer to them as a single subject. That said, Dick has a substantial resume that highlights his own unique vision and trajectory.
A true conservative, DeVos once lobbied against the construction of a major development in Grand Rapids while it was in its planning stage. His objection to it was driven by a desire to preserve the character of the area where he was born and raised. DeVos has been instrumental in driving Michigan’s evolution from blue-collar right-to-work stronghold to hub that attracts global businesses. The Turnaround Plan that DeVos fleshed out in the early 2000’s spoke to his vision to transform his home state into a section of the U.S. that offers abundant and diverse work opportunities.
DeVos isn’t only known for the positions he has held that include former CEO of Amway, a company co-founded by his father. He took a shot at becoming Governor of Michigan in 2006 but lost to Jennifer Granholm, the incumbent. In spite of remaining an active force in initiatives that foster free enterprise, DeVos is a major philanthropic donor. The list of causes both he and his wife have gotten behind are extensive. The two have donated over $138 million to community programs and houses of worship. The couple contributed $105 million towards the construction of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, following through with his family’s historic dedication to the ongoing revitalization of Western Michigan.
Though sometimes controversial, DeVos has partnered with his wife to promote education vouchers that enable parents to have greater choice in selecting the schools their kids attend. The concept has taken root throughout the country. The District of Columbia as well as states that include New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah and Georgia have already adopted voucher programs. President Trump is said to have selected Betsy to play such a key role in his administration because of how effectively she has campaigned for programs that boldly redesign the K-12 learning experience. No amount of charity can ever replace hard work and a personal dedication to achieving success is the fundamental premise of “Rediscovering American Values,” a book authored by Dick in 1998. It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with DeVos’s track record that it was a bestseller.
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