Richard DeVos Continues To Work For Education

Businessman and entrepreneur Dick DeVos is a man who knows how to get things done. In many circles he is considered a change-maker.


In 1991, when a serious bid was put forth to build a downtown sports arena, DeVos led the effort to stop it. The reason being: the detrimental effects left behind after the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace at Auburn Hills left the city.


DeVos, husband of Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos, has spent decades along with his wife changing the face of Michigan. Both come from enormous wealth, and have used it to gain political influence and to push forth education and labor laws within the state.


He is also the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. He served as CEO of Amway until 2003 and also ran the family-owned Orlando Magic Basketball team for several years.


The life-long conservative Republican is well known for pushing charter schools and changing the state to right to work. Michigan has long been a union stronghold, and widely considered the birthplace of unions. Today, unions in the state are slowly but surely leaving.


The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation has raised millions of dollars over the years for arts, culture, policy initiatives and education. The couple also notably gave nearly $13 million to fund a children’s hospital built in the name of DeVos’s mother Helen DeVos.


The building of this hospital gives families of sick children a place to stay while the child is in the hospital.


DeVos and his wife have made charter schools and school choice their number one project. DeVos opened the West Michigan Aviation Charter Academy for students who have a love of engineering and aviation.


The DeVoses believe that all students should have a chance of receiving a good education. The voucher program gives students the choice of attending better schools outside their community.


Sadly, not all residents believed in the constitutional initiative that required citizens of Michigan to pay taxes for children wanting to go to private schools. Although the amendment failed, the DeVoses led the charge in other states that were open to school choice.


In 2006, DeVos made a run to unseat Democrat incumbent governor Jennifer Granholm. Although DeVos made steady gains on Granholm, he ended up winning by 8 percentage points.


In the meantime, DeVos continues to work toward bettering student education and supporting a number of initiatives within the state.


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