Betsy DeVos, the Philanthropic Reformer

From the time she undertook a political and a reformist lifestyle in college, Betsy DeVos has grown to be a reformer par excellence. From Calvin College, DeVos has overseen committees for political action, party organizations and similar positions including acting as a party chairman for the Michigan Republican Marty for six years. This reformist tendency seems to run in her family as shown by the fact that her husband Dick DeVos was nominated as the gubernatorial candidate for the Republican Party in Michigan in 2006.

Always pursuing innovative solutions to social challenges, be it in business or politics, Betsy is currently the chairperson of the privately held Winquest Group. The group, which Betsy founded in 1989 with her husband, runs multiple companies that operate in clean energy, technology, and manufacturing.

What stands out the most about Ms. DeVos is her philanthropic pursuit of reform. Being the chairperson of Betsy and DeVos Family Foundation, she has invested in various charitable interests across many sectors. Such areas include Kids Hope USA; another is DeVos Institute for Arts Management found at Carter Centre, as well as Mars Hill Bible Church. Known prominently in backing for educational choice movement, DeVos has served as chairperson of the American Federation for Children (AFC) as well as the Alliance for School Choice.

Dick DeVos is the former president of a direct marketing giant firm started by his father, Amway, which built the fortune of the DeVos family. The philanthropy of the DeVoses has run for decades now, and the family ranks among the most influential conservative financiers of various think tanks, leadership institutes, and legal groups. Their donations are both national and international, as they extend their contributions to political causes such as efforts related to elections. The family is estimated to have given more than 44 million dollars for political purposes alone.

With an impressive funding record towards school choice cause in Michigan, the Grand Rapids-based DeVos Family Foundation which is co-chaired by Betsy and Dick also supports the West Michigan Aviation Academy, founded in 2010 by Dick DeVos. The academy, which is also a charter high school runs an aviation theme at Gerald R. Ford International Airport situated at Grand Rapids.

In addition to providing substantial funding for the Education Freedom Fund, the DeVos Family Foundation also sponsors two Christian Private Schools managed by the Potter’s House. Away from education and politics, the DeVoses philanthropy extends to health and the arts. The family foundation has been the primary financier for the annual arts bonanza held in Grand Rapids, dubbed ArtPrize.

Also supporting the pediatric oncology at a hospital named after Betsy DeVos’ mother in law, the foundation has made a significant input in the health sector.


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