In West Michigan where the Devos family lives, you gain recognition by how much you give, not by how fancy your clothes or cars are. The Devos family knows this well. Their philanthropic efforts have surpassed over $1 billion over their lifetime.
In 2013 alone, for example, the DeVos family gave $90 million, with about half of those funds going to educational causes, a fourth going to health services and community services, and about thirteen percent going to faith-based clubs, and another twelve percent going to the arts.
The DeVos better their community in Michigan and nationally with their giving. For example, their help was linked with developing leadership in teacher training, which cut down on the amount of students missing class (who are often low-income minorities) by about 30%. Dick DeVos believes making the schools a better place to learn is crucial for improving the community.
And as far as churches are concerned, they helped people get driver’s licenses, secure employment, and gain access to social programs, sometimes even just basic showers and meals through ministries and faith programs. One recipient of this aid, Mel Trotter, was able to turn their situation from homeless to living in an apartment in just 40 days.
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DeVos and his spouse have co-chaired the Education Freedom Fund since 1993. It provides scholarships to those with little money in Michigan. With this help, they are able to attend the schools of their dreams. DeVos covered $7.5 million in donations to this cause and matched that of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.
Seeking to do more for education, DeVos also co-chaired “Kids First!”, a campaign that helped parents use their tax credits toward education. While ultimately the voters did not all side with this initiative, the efforts brought the importance of education into the spotlight again in Michigan, where it is badly needed.
Dick and Betsy DeVos also put their funds toward charities like Children First America, American Education Reform Council and Choices for Children. They understand that inspiring and nurturing young minds is more important now than ever. Dick is the president of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. This foundation helps with the causes mentioned above and also much more. For example, they assist hospitals, economic organizations, and higher education.
Their scholarships have helped kids get their MA, MS, and MBA in business subjects. And they also award an entrepreneurship scholarship aimed at young adults who seek out success in free enterprise. The DeVos family also supports Grand Action. This project attempts to solve the city of Detroit’s problems by getting business leaders and government officials involved in collaborating with each other, a move which has led to a revitalized downtown.