Dick DeVos is a businessman who likes to keep his eye on the big picture.
In 1991, DeVos led the opposition when various interests in Grand Rapids, Michigan proposed building a sports arena well outside the city’s struggling downtown. After all, two comparable sports arenas outside the periphery of nearby Detroit’s city center hadn’t done so well when the Motor City’s two home teams, the Lions and the Pistons, moved on to greener pastures.
With a group of more than 50 local business and community leaders who shared his foresightedness, DeVos formed the Grand Vision Committee. The Committee changed its name to Grand Action in 1993. Grand Action’s leadership has helped revitalize Grand Rapids’ aging downtown by championing building projects such as the Van Andel Arena, the Grand Rapids City Market, Michigan State University’s medical school, the DeVos Place Convention Center and the DeVos Performance Hall.
Causes That Matter
Dick DeVos understands the responsibilities that come with wealth, and he has committed his life to giving back to the world around him. He’s the son and namesake of self-made billionaire Richard DeVos who founded Amway, which is the business that introduced the use of multi-level marketing to the sales of health and beauty products.
In 1980, Dick DeVos married his wife Betsy who shares his dedication to making a positive impact on the world. Together, the power couple have pushed hard for the conservative causes that matter most to them. In Betsy’s case, many of these causes have been in the field of education. Recognizing Betsy’s passion for educational reform, President Donald Trump appointed her to the Cabinet-level position of U.S. Secretary of Education shortly after he assumed office in 2017.
Dick’s zeal for positive change has focused on workers’ rights. In 2012, he was one of the driving forces behind Michigan’s Right to Work law, which protects workers from being forced to join unions and pay dues in order to hold certain jobs.
Acts of Private Generosity
Apart from the public causes with which they are most closely identified, Betsy and Dick DeVos participate in many acts of private generosity. Between 1989 and 2015, the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation donated nearly $140 million dollars to the arts, to churches, and to health and human services throughout all parts of the nation.
In 2006, the couple gave more than $12 million toward the construction of a pediatric hospital in downtown Grand Rapids that now bears the name of Dick’s mother. Dick was concerned about the parents of children who would not be able to take the time off from work in order to sit by the bedsides of sons and daughters who might be hospitalized in Chicago or Ann Arbor.
What a Difference a Vision Can Make
Thanks to the vision of Dick DeVos, Grand Rapids’ downtown has become an engine that’s driving a thriving local economy. Dick and Betsy DeVos believe that empowering Americans to make their own choices is the most effective way to implement positive change.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.