Dick DeVos, a Michigan-based industrialist and philanthropist, has a deep thought of creating a path for the children to follow the American dream. I am pretty convinced with his thoughts that the current education system of the country is not letting the children follow the dream and career aspirations as its quality deteriorated in the recent years. DeVos thinks that there are wrong ZIP codes where children are not able to chase their career goals due to lack of accessibility and quality education. Due to this, he allocates the largest percentage of money from his yearly contributions to education and education activism. Apart from that DeVos framed some initiatives to improve the educational quality including school of choice, charter school system, school vouchers, and more.
Dick along with his wife Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. Secretary of Education, contribute large sums to various philanthropic activities. In 2015 alone, they donated more than $11.6 million to various non-profits working with different goals. It should be noted that both of them just made a payment of $5.3 million to various political campaigning contributions in the last five years. I feel proud to detail that both of them have made philanthropic contributions totaling to $139 million as of the date. It should be noted that Dick’s father, Rich DeVos – the co-founder of Amway – instilled the mindset of contributing to a noble cause to his children since their childhood.
It should be noted that Rich and his family made a lifetime contribution of $1.33 billion that is about 25 percent of their total fortune of $5.2 billion. While coming to the contributions of Dick and Betsy, they allocated 26 percent – the highest – of their contributions in 2015 to educational causes. I have noticed that they also contributed $357,000, equivalent to 3 percent, to various groups that are supporting the education reform. It should be noted the contributions of the couple are facilitated through a foundation – Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation – established in 1989 to ensure efficient distribution of funds. Their other contribution priorities in 2015 include Arts & Culture (21 percent), civic and community (16 percent), leadership and development (13 percent), public policy (12 percent), human services (5 percent), and churches (4 percent).
As I expected, the Foundation gives priority to improve the K-12 education system of the country. It also gives greater importance to art and culture and instituted ArtPrize, an independently conducted and open international art competition, in 2009. The competition is held every year in early fall for 19 days in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Foundation led by the Dick and Betsy created a Pediatric Oncology Program in the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to ensure effective treatment for the kids who are suffering from cancer. Recently, I came to know that the team at the hospital has collaborated with 26 universities across the world to change the lives of children around the world.