Dick DeVos’ Silent Contributions to the Conservative Movement

The article spotlights the DeVos’s family work in philanthropy. It details how a family that began its ascend when Richard DeVos Sr. helped found Amway in 1959 evolved into a family with a level of influence that rivals Koch brothers, albeit with a smaller media profile. Today Dick DeVos, the patriarch’s son, has a net worth of $5 billion dollars and he uses a good percentage of that wealth to invest in a variety of conservative causes. Prominent in his philanthropic activities are donations to Republican political candidates. Dick DeVos’ interest in politics runs so deep that he ran an unsuccessful campaign as Michigan’s republican nominee to the governorship in Michigan, only to lose to the democrat incumbent. His wife, Betsy DeVos, shares the interest in politics, having worked as chair to the Michigan Republican Party. Recently the DeVoses put their philanthropic weight behind GOP candidate Jeb Bush’s campaign.

The area where the DeVos’s family influence is most strongly felt is education reform. In fact, it credits them with the drastic change in acceptance of school choice movements over the past two decades. His wife Betsy, has been called a general in the voucher movement, due to her involvement in Advocates for School Choice and All Children Matter. The couple’s involvement in these organizations reflects their conservative principles. These principles are not without their controversy, however, as highlighted by Steve Lambert’s refusal to accept the DeVos funded ArtPrize award due to the sponsor’s view on LGTB rights.

Dick DeVos (born Richard Marvin DeVos Jr., October21,1955) is a Michigan based businessman and philanthropist. A alumnus of the Forest Hills public school system and Northwood University, Dick has been involved in Amway, the family business, from the time he was a child. His first official position in the Amway Corporation began in 1974 where he oversaw a large grow in international sales. He left for some years to serve as CEO of the NBA team the Orlando Magic which his family acquired in 1991, only to return to Amway as President in 1993.

Today Dick DeVos along with his wife Betsy focus a lot of their energy and wealth in philanthropic and political causes. These include Dick’s unsuccessful bid to be governor of Michigan in 2006, and funding an activism in favor of school Vouchers. Dick and his wife Betsy live in Grand Rapids Michigan with their four children.