For many rich people, it may be said that their pockets were large but their heart was small. But that’s not the case with Dick DeVos, the son of Richard DeVos, head of Michigan’s 2nd wealthiest family. The DeVos’s pride themselves on how much they’ve been able to give away to local charities and causes that are dear to their hearts. No, they aren’t showy about it, it’s something in the spirit that Richard DeVos, the patriarch of the family embodied as he saw those around him wanting to help the city of Grand Rapids. The DeVos family has passed it on to their future generations. Forbes magazine quoted the DeVos’s as having given about $94 million in 2014, and around a total of 1.2 billion in their lifetime.
Dick DeVos has been a part of the DeVos family business, and built a legacy of philanthropy over the last 40 plus years. His father Richard started the family business, Amway Corporation back in the 1950s. It was a direct selling business that allowed clients to buy products directly from Amway, and sell them to make a profit. Dick learned the family business while young, and joined it after graduating from Northwood University. He served as a vice president for about 8 years before becoming CEO of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, then returned to take over the company after his father retired. He served as CEO of Amway for 10 years, expanding its operations into many foreign countries, and growing its profits into the billions.
DeVos now runs the Windquest Group, but dedicates a lot of time now to the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Dick and his wife Betsy have backed a lot of charities through this foundation, and have supported non-profit groups and conservative think tanks. They have set up scholarships for children to attend schools of their choice, and have even built a charter school called the West Michigan Aviation Academy, where children can go not only to receive an education, but to learn about what pilots do and even get taken on plane rides.
Dick DeVos also has had a little bit of a political career, as he won election to the Michigan State Board of Education in the early 90s. He tried out for the gubernatorial race in 2006, only to be beat by incumbent Jennifer Granholm. But he has continued working behind the scene to get conservative legislation passed.