Philanthropy in Michigan: Dick DeVos and Education

Charitable events are often criticized for being lavish and catering to the most wealthy among us, the most well off, but it’s this group of people that is best positioned to give back to communities that have helped them along the way to becoming a success. So, for many it won’t take much work to find a recognizable name supporting a cause they believe in.

One name that would be noticed by citizens of the state of Michigan is Dick DeVos. And though his entire family seems quite active in philanthropy and charitable causes, it’s Dick who puts his network of $5 billion to work the most, making him one of the wealthiest charitable giver in the nation. Working with his wife, Helen, Dick runs the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, an organization that is concerned with backing educational reforms across their home state of Michigan. This concern for school children in the state makes up a great deal of their philanthropic concerns, and is arguably only challenged by their socially and politically conservative concerns.When not working to reform education, Dick turns to religion, including the support of parochial schools, Christian youth groups and faith-based charities. Dick has been active in supporting Focus on the Family, which marries conservative politics and religion, something Dick has had an active interest in. In the past, Dick has donation to the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and Freedom Works, all of which are organizations that drive conservative politics and politicians. In past presidential races, Dick DeVos has lent financial support and endorsements to candidates like Rick Santorum and New Gingrich before taking a chance on himself in 2006 when he ran for governor of the state of Michigan.

Dick DeVos has enjoyed a distinguished career that has allowed him the privilege to work in various markets and in differing positions in several companies. Between 1993 and 2002, Dick worked for Anway, ultimately becoming their President, and from his office he managed $4.5 billion in global assets that were used to fund operations in over 50 countries, all under his constant supervision.

In his personal life, Dick has used his public image to be an advocate in support of educational reforms on the behalf of students. He put this into action by working with organizations like Education Freedom Fund, extending scholarships to thousands of Michigan students seeking higher education within the state and abroad.

Glad to see the Grand Rapids area make another “best of” list! Thank you all for your role in making our city great.

Posted by Dick DeVos on Friday, March 11, 2016

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