Joe Fagan

Former Soccer Star, Now Soccer Fan

April 01, 2019

Dick And Betsy DeVos Change The Lives Of Grand Rapids Residents

Dick and Betsy DeVos have always been devoted to the people of their native Grand Rapids, Michigan. In fact, the majority of their adult lives have been spent making changes to policies and institutions that will better the lives of citizens in Grand Rapids. The power couple is also credited with using the fortunes they inherited and the political influence they attained to make significant changes to state laws governing labor and education in Michigan.


Betsy has been a longtime champion of the right of parents to choose where their children are educated. The charter school system and availability of vouchers for students to attend the school of their choice have increased greatly due to the efforts of Mrs. DeVos.


Dick DeVos played an integral role in a 2012 law that effectively converted Michigan from a state dominated by organized labor practices to a right to work state. Workers in the state no longer have to pay dues or join a union to gain access to employment.


But Dick and Betsy DeVos have made an impact in more ways than law and politics.


The foundation named in the couple’s honor gave away nearly $140 million from its inception in 1989 to 2015. The many donations by the foundation targets programs promoting arts and culture, youth leadership, health services, religion, and many more.


The couple also was responsible for the lead donation for a children’s hospital built in Grand Rapids at a cost of $103 million. The DeVos contributed $12.5 million dollars to the project and the hospital was named after Helen DeVos, Dick’s mother.


Dick DeVos is a member of the hospital’s board of directors and says he is proud of what the hospital represents to parents in Grand Rapids. Dick explains that before the hospital in Grand Rapids was constructed, parents in the city would have to miss work in order to drive their children to hospitals in Ann Arbor or Chicago.


Dick also shares his wife’s passion for education. He founded a charter high school at the Grand Rapids International Airport that focuses on aviation.


Betsy explains it is the wish of her and her husband that children from poor families be afforded the educational opportunities as children from affluent families.


There are many families in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area who are thankful for both the DeVos’ stance on education and the efforts the couple has made at making their dream a reality for children in their hometown.


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