Growing up in West Michigan, Dick DeVos has been a big role model for me. He created the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, an organization in the Grand Rapids area that has donated millions of dollars to many educational, artisitc, and religious organizations around West Michigan. Some of the foundation’s grantees include Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, ArtPrize Grand Rapids, and the West Michigan Aviation Academy to name a few. Dick has had a passion for aviation and education for many years. This lead him to create the West Michigan Aviation Academy, the nation’s first aviation school serving as a public charter school. By making it a charter school, he made it available to every kid in West Michigan with a passion for aviation. Over the years, he has funded the arts as well. The foundation gave $22.5 million to the Kennedy Center Institute of Arts Management. This really helped out the center as it was hit hard during the 2008 economic recession. I am also a big believer in free market economics which Dick DeVos supports. He has given money to organizations that support free market economics like the Heritage Foundation, the Acton Institute, and the Hudson Institute. He along with his wife, Betsy, have created their own scholarship which supports students getting their MA, BS, or MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He has also created the Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a students earning either a BBA or MBA at Northwood University. Dick DeVos has also worked to improved environmental conditions in the West Michigan area. He helped fund a private study of $500,000 for 18 months that focused on the pollution sources of Lake Macatawa.
As for work, he served as the CEO of Amway Corporation from 1993 to 2002. During his tenure, the company was able to triple foreign sales to exceed domestic sales. This was the first time this had happened in company history. He also opened many new markets due to the company’s massive growth.
Overall, Dick DeVos has done many great things throughout West Michigan. Through his foundation and volunteer efforts, he has impacted the lives of millions in a positive way.