The prominent DeVos family of Michigan is a big contributor to many philanthropic causes and organizations. The family contributes not only to local causes and institutions in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan but to state and national causes and organizations as well. A major focal point of the DeVos family philanthropy is education, particularly religious christian schools and colleges.
The DeVos family contributes money primarily through two foundations. The first is Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. Richard DeVos Sr. is the co-founder of direct marketing company giant Amway in 1959 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is he who is primarily responsible for building up the wealth of the family to the billions of dollars that the family currently has. Amway, which directly markets and sells products grew out of Richard DeVos Senior’s basement into a multinational firm that has revenues in the billions of dollars every year. Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr. is one of three sons of Richard Devos Sr. and has his own foundation called the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Betsy Prince DeVos is the wife of Dick Devos. In addition to the two DeVos family foundations, Doug and Dan DeVos, who are brothers of Dick Devos also contribute significant sums of money to conservative causes, and charitable organizations.
Conservative policies and political candidates are strongly supported by the DeVos family. The family is a strong backer and donor to conservative think tank groups such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and Freedomworks. The Republican candidates also receive strong support from the Devoses because they embody the conservative principles that the Devoses promote themselves.
Let’s take a look at Dick DeVos for a moment. Mr. Dick DeVos actually ran for governor of Michigan under the Republican ticket in 2006. He lost however. Dick was also heavily involved in the presidential campaign of George W. Bush Jr. that proved to be victorious. Most recently Dick Devos supported republican candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both from Florida, who have now dropped out of the 2016 Republican primary race.
Besides being heavily involved in state and national politics Dick DeVos and the DeVos family are very active in supporting school choices. To a large extent the DeVos family has helped push the idea of school choices to the forefront of elections on the local, state and national level. Dick DeVos’ wife Betsy has been a champion of the cause and airs several boards that promote school vouchers for low income students. The couple also gives out scholarships to families who cannot afford to send their children to private schools. For both Dick and Betsy school choice remains a forefront issue and the two are heavily involved in it.