When Michigan billionaire Dick DeVos sees a task that needs completing, he will find a way to get it done somehow. Dick and his wife Betsy believe in returning education to the local level and are all about strengthening private schools and voucher programs. They’ve met with some difficulty along the way, such as failing to get tax-credit vouchers passed in a 2000 legislative bill, but pushed on to get the Great Lakes Education Project completed in 2002. And Dick had tried to effect change at one point by running for governor in 2006 and did not succeed, but he continued working to get laws passed, including a 2012 right-to-work law.
Dick DeVos has had a long history of running businesses. He learned skilled trades at a young age from his father Richard DeVos, the man who helped build Amway Corporation and is the current owner of the Orlando Magic. Dick got his bachelor’s degree in business from Northwood University, and would later complete his MBA and Ph.D. there as well. He served as vice president from 1984 to 1990, and then later as CEO from 1993 to 2002. From about 1991 to 1993, he was the CEO of the Orlando Magic, and also won election to the Michigan State board of education.
Amway grew its customer base to over 50 countries internationally, and foreign sales actually surpassed domestic sales during that time. Since stepping down as CEO of Amway, he and Betsy have helped attract investors to The Windquest Group, a privately-owned investment firm with holdings in energy, manufacturing, and technology companies.
The Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation is the catalyst for much of their non-profit work, and through it they’ve helped setup Children First America, The Education Freedom Fund, supported Mars Hill Bible Church, and the Hugh Michael Beahan Foundation to name a few. The Kennedy Center in Washington also received a generous million-dollar contribution from Dick and Betsy for its Institute of Arts Management. Dick has also authored the New York Times best seller, Rediscovering American Values, a book discussing how America has been made great thanks to hard work and a virtuous people.