A plan was formed in 1991 in Grand Rapids to build something that both Dick and Betty DeVos didn’t quite approve of. Since the sports complex in the works didn’t fit with their ideas and their goals, they decided to fight the building commission and lobby against the idea completely.
The campaign against this new sports facility was the factor that led to a new group formation called the Grand Action. This group, full of business leaders, helped with the construction of the DeVos Place Convention Center and the DeVos Performance Hall, among other things.
Though the Grand Rapids skyline was changed after these buildings were completed, and the DeVos family have spent much of their lives as adults trying to change various policies and institutions. Since they are a wealthy and powerful family, the DeVos’ have major political influence, especially when it comes to changing state laws for both labor and education.
Betsy DeVos, who is the major influencer for these movements, has been pushing for charter school expansion, and at the same time, her husband, Dick, created a law that changed the birthplace of organized labor to a state where union membership is not an employment condition any longer.
However, their influence doesn’t just extend from Republican politics, but it also moves beyond that to other things. For several years, the DeVos family has donated at least $138.7 from their family foundation to various programs like culture, health, arts, churches, and more than all center on reform for education and scholarships for the private schools that Betsy pushes for so often.
The couple even donated up to $12 million toward the construction of a children’s hospital, naming it after Dick DeVos’ mother, Helen. She was the wife of the co-founder of Amway Corporation, Richard DeVos. The children’s hospital that they donated to has helped families seek treatment in their area instead of having to drive too far away places.
So far, education reform has been the biggest initiative of both Betsy and Dick DeVos. They are even beginning to push their advocacy toward other states in the country, providing them with more choices for private school education.
Even though Betsy DeVos is now the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dick DeVos is the CEO of a firm that he started himself. This firm is a holding company for many businesses in the Grand Rapids area. Since he flies quite a bit, Dick DeVos has even helped bring the Gerald R. Ford airport back into the public eye by leading several business leaders to help with the growth. Learn more:
Overall, Dick DeVos has been a tremendous asset to several groups and councils over the years. He has helped resurrect places like the airport and more by using his skills and expertise, and he has been a supporter of his wife since their marriage. Learn more: http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/12/01/michigan-parole-reform/94075318/