Dick DeVos: A Reformer

1991 marked the year that Dick DeVos helped form Grand Action, which was a group of business leaders who were major contributors to the construction of the DeVos Performance Hall, Michigan State University’s Medical School, the Grand Rapids City Market, the DeVos Place Convention Center, and the Van Andel Arena. Grand Action was formed after Mr. DeVos took action against a proposal to build a multi-purpose convention center north of downtown Grand Rapids. Mr. DeVos believed that building a convention center outside of the city’s central business district would have a negative impact on city’s economy.

 

Dick DeVos is married to Betsy DeVos. The two are heirs to family fortunes and have contributed millions to reform policies and institutions. Mrs. DeVos has been an advocate for the expansion of public schools across the United States, and Mr. DeVos took part in helping Michigan transform from an organized labor state to a right-to-work state. In 2006, Mr. and Mrs. DeVos donated $12.5 million to the Spectrum Health System for the construction of a new children’s hospital. It was the leading donation, and the children’s hospital was named after Dick DeVos’ mother. Mr. DeVos, who is chairman of the Spectrum Health System’s corporate board, stated that the construction of the children’s hospital has let children in the area get care without having to drive to Ann Arbor or Chicago.

 

Mr. and Mrs. DeVos are strong advocates for education reform. The couple’s mission is to help students from poor families have the same educational opportunities that their children had. The DeVos’ devotion to educational reform has helped more than 24 states and the District of Colombia offer vouchers so that students have the opportunity to attend their families school of choice. Their hard work is only one reason President Trump appointed Mrs. DeVos to the position of the United States Secretary of Education.

 

In 2010, Dick DeVos founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This is a charter high school that helps students prepare for careers in the aviation industry. When the school started it only had 80 students, but now the West Aviation Academy has more than 600 students from all over Michigan. The school is tuition-free and is funded by a per-student allowance from the state. However, Mr. and Mrs. DeVos gave more than $7 million to the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which includes a $3 million no-interest loan to help provide the school with equipment.

 

Read http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.