Devos is an extremely well-known name in Grand Rapids, Michigan as well as in the national Republican party. Richard Devos Sr. is the founder and CEO of Amway Corporation, and as Dick was being raised to take his father’s reigns in the company, but as fate would have it, his destiny changed.
In 1991, a plan from an investor emerged who wanted to build a convention center and sports arena north of downtown. When Dick heard of this, he was instantly reminded of the mass construction of the Pontiac Silverdome and the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit during the 1970s.
No sooner was the construction completed than the two professional ball teams, the Lions and Pistons, moved out of the city. The economic blow that Detroit took was huge, and Dick said that the lesson had been forgotten, and he wouldn’t let it happen to Grand Rapids, too. Immediately, he began lobbying against it, and the plan was stopped.
Dick DeVos, was CEO of Amway from 1993 to 2002, but while he was campaigning against the arena, he met several top businessmen who later formed “Grand Action,” that consisted of strategic business leaders who were also behind five significant milestones that were created in Grand Rapids: the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Performance Hall, Michigan State University’s medical school and the Grand Rapids City Market.
Dick and Betsy DeVos have worked both together and independently throughout their careers to change institutions and state and local policies. These formed the structure of both Grand Rapids and Michigan. Under their leadership, the skyline of Grand Rapid has changed, but in addition to being a strategic businessman, the Devos Family Foundation has donated over $139 million since 1989.
The charities and causes they contributed to were directed toward political and education reform. They also contributed to arts and culture, health services, churches, and policy initiatives focused on charter schools. Dick Devos and his wife are known as mega-donors in the Republican Party, which has led them to be especially influencial in the political areana.
When Trump became the 45th president of the United States, he appointed Betsy Devos as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education because of her experience in changing laws and stautes of the Michigan education system for the better. She is now proud to say that the poor children in Michigan have the same educational opportunities as her children.
Dick Devos is a talented pilot who founded a charter high school based in aviation on the Grand Rapids International Airport. This combined his love for flying with the charter high school that the Devoses worked so diligently in changing state statutes.
Dick and Betsy are not ashamed to say that they have had some failures, but as business leaders they refused to give up. Today, there are 24 states that have vouchers for private schools, so all children can have equal educations.
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