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.
Visit http://dickdevos.com/ to learn more.