Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy DeVos have been significant donors to the education sector and Republic party. The huge donations have attracted attention and criticism from various individuals. The contributions, which are believed to be over $139 million, caused the United States education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos lots of scrutiny ahead of her confirmation hearing. To overcome the criticism, the couple decided to disclose on their philanthropic donations, which are funneled through the family foundation, Dick, and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. In 2015, the family donated $11.6 million to charitable contributions.
Dick DeVos father has been a high-profile giver for Republican Politics for Years. In 2015, Forbes ranked the family in the 24th position as one of the America’s top givers. This came after the family donated over $104 million in charity. Forbes also estimates that the family all time donations to be about $1.33 billion, a figure, which is about a quarter of its $5.2 billion fortune.
Priority on Improving the Education System
Dick and Betsy‘s donations show their priority in the education sector. In 2015, they allocated $ 3 million to the education sector. This amount totals to about 26% of the family’s total contributions. DeVos believes that the current educational system doesn’t yield the American dream and, therefore, his donations are made to better the system. He further argues that the system has excellent educators and administrators, but the system is imperfect. However, a lot of institutions including the Michigan Democratic Party have criticized the donations to the education sector terming them as a scheme to divert attention away from disclosing their political donation. Despite the criticism, the family continues to hold its stand of donating to schools. DeVos maintains that the family foundation supports learning institutions to help people directly. The DeVos Family Foundation has also been involved in funding other sectors including art and culture, civic and community, leadership and development, public policy, health and human services and churches.
Dick DeVos Work History
Dick DeVos has worked in several executive positions at Amway, NBA’s Orlando Magic and The Windquest Group. The Michigan resident began his career in 1974 at Amway, a firm founded by his father. Under his helm, the company opened multiple new markets and increased foreign sales by three folds to exceed domestic sale. In 1991, he became the president and CEO of NBA’s Orlando Magic until 1993, when he rejoined Amway as the president. Under his tenure, he oversaw a corporate restructuring that saw the company return to profitability. He is also credited with taking the company to an international scale and setting incredible market standards. In 2002, he retired and joined The Windquest Group as the president.