Dick and Betsy DeVos, both born to billionaire families, are a couple that has used their vast fortunes to affect change to both institutions and policy issues in the state of Michigan. The two have been consistent mega-donors to the Republican party and have parlayed this influence into a catalyst for change in education and labor laws.
An example of this was in 2012 when Dick was able to engineer a law that resulted in Michigan being converted from an organized labor state to a right to work state where it would no longer be necessary to seek union membership before finding employment.
Not to be outdone, wife Betsy mounted a strong and successful campaign to extend charter school offerings in the state.
In a period that began in 1989 and extended to 2015, the Dick and Betsy Foundation reported donations of over $138 million to programs for leadership, arts, religion, and health services.
In the city of Grand Rapids, made a donation of $12.5 million dollars towards the construction of a $103 million hospital for children named for Dick’s mother, Helen, whose husband was the co-founder of Amway.
Dick DeVos feels the hospital is of great importance to the community because parents will no longer be forced to drive children to nearby cities to receive medical care.
The DeVos’ have also demonstrated their commitment to education reform with the founding on the part of Dick of an aviation high school originally located at Grand Rapids International Airport.
Betsy has stated in interviews that the family’s philanthropic pursuits have always been in line with their education advocacy as the couple shares a desire to see that children from less fortunate families are given the same educational opportunities as kids from more wealthy families.
The DeVos’ have at times experienced opposition to their philosophies as area voters rejected a state constitutional amendment sponsored by the DeVos’ that sought the creation of vouchers funded with tax money that would pay for the private educations of students. And six years later Dick would suffer a loss in a bid for Governor of Michigan to the incumbent Jennifer Granholm.
The DeVos are fighters however and have proven to not be deterred by setbacks. The couple would shift their advocacy efforts pertaining to private schools to other areas of the country and experience success. As of present, 24 states and the District of Columbia have some form of private school voucher system. Learn more: http://www.celebfamily.com/business/richard-devos-family.html