Category: Entrepreneur

Hometown Heros- The DeVos

For many in their hometown of Grand Rapids, the power couple that is Dick and Betsy DeVos are heroes. For many years, they have both worked hard at making their town a better place to live. From politics and philanthropy to schools and voucher systems, they are more involved than most.


Back in the early 90s, Dick DeVos was working hard in his family’s company called Amway. He was working towards the top and was doing a good job of getting there. However, that took a side seat while he worked on other things that popped up. He had heard that there was a plan to build a new convention and sports center in the Grand Rapids downtown area. Dick was not too happy when he heard this news. He felt building it would not be in the best interest of his beloved town.


To help with his fight against the construction of the center, he formed a group with other local business men to go against the proposal. Both Dick and his wife, Betsy, were heirs to the fortunes that their families had left behind. However, they didn’t use their money as a way to spend their lives without purpose. They have both worked hard and spend much of their fortunes on helping out those less fortunate.


The couple are firm Republicans and very involved in politics. They have been known to spend lot of money in support of the Republican party as well. For more than 30 years, they have given away more than $100 million dollars towards the formation of leadership programs, human and health services, arts and culture, policy initiatives and churches.


They both have a fond love of education. Mrs DeVos works in Washington as the Secretary of Education and the couple together have opened a charter school in their hometown of Grand Rapids. They opened it at the airport. Mr. DeVos is a huge lover of aviation and has flown both private and commercial airplanes. This is why he chose to open a charter school on the grounds of the airport.


To this day, the Michigan Aviation Charter School opened by DeVos has continued to grow and become more successful. This is a non-profit charter school that started with just 80 students back in 2010. It is now open and running with more than 600 teenagers from various counties across the state. To get into the school, there is a lottery that is held each year during the spring. This is done to help choose which students will be able to attend the following year when there are more applications than openings.


The school is a charter school and tuition to attend is free. It is run just like public school in the area and operates with an allowance given to it by Michigan state. Dick and Betsy DeVos have also given more than $8 million in funds towards running the school as well. This included a $4 million dollar loan to help expand the school and equip the buildings.


Follow Dick DeVos on twitter.

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