Dick DeVos is the Chairman of the Windquest Group, a Grand Rapids investment firm that owns several Michigan-based businesses and sponsors some non-profit entities as well. Recently The Windquest Group appointed Phil Dolci to be CEO of its subsidiary, The Stowe Company and also bought the shares of Coppercraft, a Holland, MI brewing company. Dick and his wife Betsy have made billions over their career but have also donated large amounts back to the Grand Rapids community and even across Michigan and around the nation. The DeVos’s have usually kept quiet about how much they give, but after Betsy was chosen to be Secretary of Education by President Trump, the DeVos’s decided to let the public know the ballpark of their philanthropy amount which is estimated to be around $139 million.
Dick DeVos comes from a strong business background and a family of entrepreneurs. The company he started out with, Amway Corporation was cofounded by his father, Richard DeVos Sr. Richard DeVos Sr. was an advisor and personal friend of former President Gerald Ford and also currently owns the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Dick entered upper management of Amway after completing his bachelor’s degree at Northwood University, and at age 29 he was already placed in charge of many operational decisions. He and his brothers Daniel and Douglas were tasked with strategic marketing and overseas growth strategies, and under their leadership Amway became a major powerhouse in the Asian and Australian markets. Dick grew sales even more as CEO from 1993 to 2002, but then left the company that year to solely run The Windquest Group.
Dick and Betsy’s most notable philanthropy really began when Dick ran for the state Board of Education in 1990 and worked to get reform policies passed. But they really wanted to help private schools gain access to more resources and help underprivileged students afford them, so they started several scholarship funds to that end. They attempted to get legislation passed for tax credits and vouchers favoring the private schools, but the measure came up short of the needed votes. The DeVos’s did continue to bring education projects to the table and in 2010 they started an aviation-based charter school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Other places that have benefited from the DeVos’s giving are the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Heritage Foundation, Action and Hudson Institutes, and several Children’s Hospitals. Dick and Betsy both ran in politics with Betsy as the Michigan Republican Party chairperson for several years, and Dick ran in the 2006 gubernatorial race against incumbent Jennifer Granholm though he came up short. Dick DeVos won the Spectrum Health Foundation’s Art of Giving award that same year, and several years before he penned the book Rediscovering American Values.