Browse Category: Education

Dick DeVos, A History of Charity

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a fine institution with a rich history of supporting the arts. In 2013 they started a campaign to build a new extension to their facility. The plans included a river pavilion to be set up down the hill from their main complex. Thanks to extremely generous donations from many contributors, both group donations and individual ones, the Kennedy Center exceeded their goal of one hundred and twenty five million by a large margin. They raised enough money to build a river front pavilion as well as a walkway to their main building. A large portion of these donations came from one Dick DeVos, husband of Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. Dick has long been a patron of the arts and many other charities and this was not his first donation to the Kennedy Center. In 2010, he gave the Kennedy Center’s Institute of Arts Management twenty two and a half million dollars which prompted the Kenned Center to rename the building to the DeVos Institute for Arts Management. Dick DeVos and his wife have also contributed to an arts competition since 2009. ArtPrize is a yearly competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to supporting the arts, Dick has started an aviation charter school. West Michigan Aviation Academy is the first high school of its kind in the United States. The school is the brainchild of Dick and his wife Betsy. Her love for education and his fervor for flying led to the creation of this school. Located at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, the couple were particular about it being a charter school so that anybody and everybody who wanted to learn to fly could, in fact, take to the sky. To quote DeVos: “Charter schools are available to everyone…. A charter school is a public school and therefore there’s no tuition. So every student would have the possibility of going to this school at no cost and we think that’s very, very important—to reach across the entire West Michigan community to be sure that every child has an opportunity to attend this school.” Education is a theme that runs through the DeVos family, as it should with Betsy being the Secretary of Education. Students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management have been able to apply for The Dick and Betsy DeVos Scholarship since its inception in 2008.

 

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Betsy DeVos Proves to be a Force to Reckon within the Political and Philanthropic Circles

Betsy DeVos continues to be a role model for many women around the world. Through her many endeavors and engagements, she has shown that a woman can rise from the shadows of a well-renowned family, the DeVos family, as well as a wealthy husband, Dick DeVos. By doing so, Betsy has created a name for herself as an activist, politician, philanthropist and businesswoman as opposed to just being the wife of a billionaire. In fact, she is the current 11th United States Secretary of Education.

Early Life

Betsy DeVos or otherwise known as Elisabeth Prince, which is her birth name, was born on January 8, 1958. She is the daughter of Edgar Prince. More specifically, Edgar is known for establishing Prince Corporation, a Holland, Michigan-based automobile parts supplier. Her brother, Erik Prince, is a former Navy SEAL officer. Other than that, Erik is recognized as the founder of a private military services contractor known as Blackwater USA. Betsy attended high school at the Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan. She later pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Calvin College situated in the Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Additionally, Betsy was a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America while growing up.

Political Roles and Fundraising

Since 1982, Betsy has been an active participant of the Michigan Republican Party. In fact, she boasts of a considerable level of experience as a local precinct delegate for the party after serving 16 consecutive two-year terms.  This is in addition to serving as the chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party for about four years since 1996. In 2003, she ran again for the Michigan Republican Party chairman and won unopposed. Betsy has also proven to be a strong political fundraiser, especially for the Republican Party. Her effort to raise over $150000 to support the Bush re-election campaign in 2004 is testament enough. Additionally, she was the host of a Republican fundraiser in October 2008 that was graced by the presence of President George W. Bush. Betsy also closely worked with the Bush administration for about two years. During this period, she served as the finance chairperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Read more news on CNN.

Philanthropy

Apart from being a businesswoman and active political activist, Betsy DeVos has displayed an altruistic spirit together with her husband, Dick DeVos. They take part in numerous charitable initiatives through their charitable foundation known as the Dick & Betsy DeVos family foundation. As a matter of fact, the DeVos family was ranked as #24 on 2015 Forbes list of America’s top givers.