Dick DeVos has earned a lot of money over his lifetime, but his pride in owning that wealth is not merely manifested in what he owns. Rather, his pride is in how much he has given to local charities and non-profit organizations. Dick, along with the rest of the DeVos family, have run businesses very successfully, churning profits even in markets that have been relatively unfriendly. But they have taken the money they’ve made and given it to local organizations such as hospitals, museums, law enforcement agencies, and various political think tanks. While the exact money they’ve given out over the years is unknown, it was recently discovered that they gave out about $94 million in the year 2014.
Dick DeVos was born in 1955, the son of Amway founder Richard DeVos. Amway was one of the first major direct selling companies to take off, and Dick learned a lot about the family business from his father growing up. After graduating from college, Dick went to work at the business, and soon became a vice president in the executive wing. Dick helped Amway tap into new markets and find open doors overseas, and when he became CEO in 1993, he had set up operations in over 50 countries worldwide.
Dick and his wife Betsy started their own foundation, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation that has been the driver for local Grand Rapids Charities. Among the organizations that they’ve given to have been think tanks such as the American Family Council, the Education Freedom Fund, and other constitutional organizations. The cause that may be closest to their hearts is education, as they have fought hard for school of choice options, and have even helped establish a charter school in western Michigan.
Both Dick and Betsy have served at the state’s Republican Party, with Betsy being the former chair at one time. Dick DeVos attempted to run for governor in 2006, only to be defeated by Jennifer Granholm, but he had become a known conservative figure following that race. Eventually he was able to get some conservative legislation passed including a right-to-work law in 2012.