Dick DeVos, the son of one of the co-founders of Amway Corporation, recently detailed just how much he and his family have given away over the years. The total came up to almost $139 million over the course of he and his wife’s, Betsy, lifetimes. In just 2015 they gave away $11.6 million to various charitable causes. Adding in the money given away by his extended family including his father, they gave away $104 million in just 2015 which places them as 24th on Forbes’ “American Top Givers” list.
A large portion of the money that Dick and Betsy donate is for educational causes, including the West Michigan Aviation Academy, Potter’s House in Wyoming, and the Compass College of Cinematics Arts among others. In total, they gave $3 million to education causes in 2015. Much of the money goes to causes that back school choice. Dick DeVos has said that it’s very unfair that a child’s zip code is the primary determinate in the quality of the education they receive. Children in poor communities who have sub-standard education deserve a much better education than what they are currently receiving.
Arts and culture are another big focus of their charitable foundation, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. They gave $2.4 million in 2015 to organizations such as the DeVos Institute of Arts Management which is located at the University of Maryland. They also support ArtPrize, an annual art competition that is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dick DeVos started his professional career at Amway in 1974. He was involved in many different parts of the business including marketing, manufacturing, finance, and research and development. He earned a role as a Vice President in 1984 and led the company’s effort to expand internationally. When he took over in this role, only 5% of the company’s revenue was from international sales. By the time he moved on to another role, international sales made up a little more than half of Amway’s revenue.
In 1991, Dick was tapped by his father to be the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Orlando Magic NBA team which he had recently purchased. Dick served in this role for a few years before he rejoined Amway as the company’s President. During this time, he also co-founded a company his wife called The Windquest Group which is an investment company that focuses on technology and manufacturing.
Dick DeVos is a graduate of Northwood University, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also attended both Wharton School’s and Harvard Business School’s executive study programs, although he didn’t graduate from either. He has been given honorary doctors by three universities; Central Michigan University, Northwood University, and Grove City College.