Dick DeVos is a man who does not hesitate to use his considerable fortune to make what is important to him happen. The former CEO of Amway Corporation makes donations and instigates policy changes at all levels, from improving the skyline and saving the downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from suburban sprawl to causing over 20 states to allow students to use vouchers to obtain private education. He and his wife, Betsy, the U.S. Secretary of Education, have a mission to enable children from all walks of life to have access to all of the opportunities that their own children had in terms of education as well as health care.
DeVos has always been politically active. For one thing, he has put a great deal of time and effort into supporting the GOP through both donations and using his considerable influence. He also was responsible for a law that allowed local laborers to choose for themselves whether or not they wanted to join a union. Unfortunately, his run for governor was not successful, but he was able to single-handedly convince Southwest to expand into the Grand Rapids, Michigan airport, making it a noteworthy airport with direct flights into the city and removing it from the list of top 5 most expensive airports. His work on the airport, as well as his experience as a pilot caused him to be named to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council.
Dick has donated much time and effort into improving the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1991, he formed the Grand Action group, who ultimately constructed buildings in downtown Grand Rapids which included an arena, a city market, and a medical school. Along with his wife, Betsy, he formed the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which was responsible for 138.7 million dollars in donations to varied organizations. They were the leading donators for a local children’s hospital, which would allow families with children in need of treatment to stay at home, rather traveling to the Mayo Clinic or Ann Arbor. Other programs that benefited from the foundation include health and human services programs, churches, arts and cultural programs, schools, and leadership programs. Learn more: http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/
DeVos is a self-proclaimed “flight geek.” He combined his love of aviation with his enthusiasm for private education to start the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This charter school is located at Gerald R Ford International airport, which is also home to the Amway corporate hangar.