Betsy DeVos and Her Philanthropic Role in Education

Elisabeth Prince better known as Betsy DeVos was born in 1958. Besides being a politician and businessperson, she is also an American philanthropist. She received her BA at Calvin College in Michigan. While at Calvin College, the young Elisabeth became involved with campus politics and had remained politically active ever since. She is currently a member of the Republican party known for her support for school voucher programs as well as charter schools.

Betsy is married to Dick DeVos, the former CEO of Amway. Dick is the son of billionaire Richard DeVos, Amway co-founder. Mrs. DeVos is very committed to education. As the Republican National Committeewoman, she championed the Detroit charter school system from 1996-2003. She also served on the board of Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE). Her expertise was much sought after as she was called upon to serve on the boards of PAC, All Children Matter, Acton Institute and Alliance for School Choice. Currently, however, she serves as the United States Secretary of Education. Visit Betsy’s profile page on facebook.com.

Mrs. DeVos describes herself as a reformer. She has a firm belief in philanthropy and its potential to help people. The couple founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation started by giving scholarships to low-income families helping the parents decide where their kids should go to school. As the chairman of the foundation, Betsy realized that while it was easy to help some kids through the scholarship fund, it was never going to be enough unless they address the actual problem. She, therefore, became an outspoken advocate for the school voucher system and tax credit scholarship programs.

She has always pursued reform through a plethora of nonprofit roles with her charitable interests ranging far and wide. Mrs. DeVos insists on giving to institutions and programs focused on community, education and cultivating leadership thus accelerating transformation. Dick and Betsy’s efforts are a part of their holistic effort to improve education in America. The DeVos Foundation has donated significant amounts of money to schools, hospitals, and health research organizations. They also support conservative, free-market think tanks and evangelical missions.

Forbes magazine listed the DeVos family among the top 100 richest families in America. Of their estimated net worth of over 5 billion dollars, Dick and Betsy Devos have given over $11.6 million dollars in charitable contributions through their foundation and over $139 million as a couple over their lifetime. The motivation behind their efforts is to help parents to get the opportunity to educate their children while helping the kids realize their God-given potential. For this family, their giving reflects how much of a priority education is to them. Mrs. DeVos always stays active working with many education reform nonprofits while helping to establish political action committees. As the new Secretary of Education, the sky is the limit for the ambitious and driven Betsy DeVos. Read more articles at MLive about Betsy.

What has Dick Devos Been up to?

Dick and Betsy Devos are well known in the area around Michigan for several reasons. Dick Devos was the candidate for the gubernatorial seat for the state of Michigan in the year 2006. While he lost the race to the Democratic candidate, this haven’t prevented him from making donations to the Republican Party and charitable causes around the area. Since they married almost four decades ago, the Devos family has made a contribution of $139 million for various causes. According to reports obtained from the Internal Revenue Service, the Devos family made a contribution of $15 million to charitable causes in the Michigan area. As for political donations, the family made donations worth $5.3. However, they have been criticized in the past that the charitable donations are a cover up for the outsized political donations they make to the Republican Party.

 

The Devos family is the 24th most generous family in the USA having given away a quarter of their wealth. Recent reports show that the family has given away $1.33 billion for the last 50 years. The family is worth $5.2 billion. Betsy Devos also comes from a generous family from Netherlands known as the Edgar Prince family. However, with the DeVos family donation, there is a trend where they put much emphasis on the education sector. Of the 15 million they donated to charitable causes, 26 percent went to education. Their dedication to the education sector was what led to Betsy Devos being appointed the secretary of education. The Devos family realizes that a lot has to be done to change the education sector in the United States. The family also involves their children in these donations, something they say is a deliberate move that they have discussed with their children.

 

The family does not discriminate on private and public schools as they fund all schools. Some of the institutions that have received their funding include Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico, Northwood University where Dick Devos schooled, and Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning. Other institutions that have benefited from their funding include Ferris State University, Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids and Potter’s House from Wyoming.

 

Dick Devos has been involved with his family business since he was a child. He is the son of Richard Devos who owns Amway Group and Orlando Magic. On official capacity, he began his involvement with the Amway Group in 1974. During this period, he has occupied different positions such as senior vice president and chief executive officer following the resignation of his father.

 

Other than education, the Devos Family makes donations in other sectors such as arts and leadership. Other sectors that the family focuses on include health and human services, public policy and churches.