With the DeVos family receiving criticism and attention in recent months, for their ridiculously sized political contributions, they decided to unveil their philanthropic contributions to show the country that politics aren’t the only thing they care about. With Mrs. DeVos’ confirmation for Secretary of Education looming, her and her husband showed the world that their charitable contributions have reached a staggering $139 million over their lifetimes.
Just within the year of 2015, Dick and his wife Betsy gave an astounding $11.6 million in charitable contributions. As part of Mrs. Devos’ vetting process for the position of Secretary of Education, Dick and his wife had to report their political donations to the government and since then have received scrutiny. But the $5.3 million in campaign donations over the last five years pales in comparison to the $11.6 in charitable donations that were given in just one year. Dick and his wife are both part of a family dynasty that has played its part in politics for many decades, with Dick’s dad being the billionaire co-founder of Amway. Between Dick and his other siblings, the family gave more than $104 million in philanthropic giving in 2015, placing the whole DeVos family on Forbes’ “America’s Top Givers” list at number 24.
According the recent data, Dick and his family have doled out a lifetime giving amount of more than $1.33 billion. This number is a quarter of the family’s total billion dollar fortune, making them one of the biggest contributors by percentage, in the country. Dick and Betsy have shown that their priority in philanthropy rests in the education world. In 2015, 26 percent of their donations that year were gifted to educational causes, about $3 million.
Dick DeVos was born into the Amway family, beginning his work with them in 1974. He became one of the company’s vice presidents in 1984, leading to company to open many new markets and tripling their foreign sales. His family became the owners of the Orlando Magic in 1991, splitting ownership between the siblings in 2005. After leaving his position at the Orlando Magic as its President and CEO, Dick went back to Amway to take his father’s place as President. In 2000, he oversaw Amway’s corporate restructuring which would give it a new mother company, Alticor. He stayed on as Alticor’s President until 2002. Dick DeVos is now part of the Windquest Group, an investment management firm.
In 1993, he and his wife co-chaired the Education Freedom Fund which worked to provide private scholarships to Michigan’s low-income families. He is the President of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to various organizations working in religious, artistic, community, and educational fields. In 2010, he helped to open the country’s first aviation public charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy.