How Dick And Betsy Changed Their Hometown’s Image

Dick DeVos has come a long way from making his way up in the company his grandfather owned. While he was on his way to becoming CEO of Amway, he received a call that would change the course of his future. The call was about a new sports arena to be built in the area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. DeVos knew right away these plans could be detrimental to the city and he decided to form a group with other business owners in the area called the Grand Action Group to help fight these plans from going forward.


Between 1989 and 2015, the foundation Dick and Betsy DeVos started had reportedly given away more than 140 million to various arts, culture and leadership programs. Some of the money was also reported to be given to churches, health and human service departments and policy initiatives centered around scholarships for private schools and educational reform.


Educational Reform


For Dick and Betsy DeVos, educational reform has always been one of their top priorities. With the help of his wife, Mr. DeVos used that passion to found an aviation-themed charter school for high school students located at the airport in Grand Rapids. Students from various counties across the state make the trip each day to attend this high school.


Secretary Of Education


Because of her passion for school choice voucher programs, President Donald Trump chose Betsy DeVos as his new Secretary of Education for the United States. She was only narrowly chosen by the United States Senate because of a heated debate regarding the impact of school choice programs within the traditional public schooling systems.


Dick’s Michigan Aviation Charter School Continues To Grow


Dick DeVos could not be more proud of the continued success of his charter school in Michigan has had. His wife, Betsy DeVos, has also had a key role in helping her husband found this school. It is a non-profit school that started with only 80 students in a part of the airport that was no longer being used. Today, there are almost a thousand students registered at the school. Gaining entrance into this charter school is accomplished by winning a public lottery the school holds each spring when the applications begin to exceed the openings for the following year.


Great Lakes Education Project


The GLE Project was founded by Betsy and Dick as an advocacy organization. It also has its own political-based action committee. Their advocacy organization paired up with other groups and successfully fought against a proposal that would have made funding charter schools a decision for a newly-created federal government commission to make. Betsy feels that the answer to school choice decision-making is not more governmental involvement. She feels the answers should come from a more local standpoint. The parents, teachers and local officials should be the ones to make the decisions about education in their areas.


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