If you have not heard of Dick and Betsy DeVos, you are in the minority, as they are a power couple that has been making waves in many different ways all over the country. Dick DeVos was the CEO of Amway between the years 1993 and 2002, but he has also made many political waves and waves in different communities.
In the early 1990s, he led a campaign against the formation of a sports facility that was supposed to be built outside of the central business district of Grand Rapids. This led to the formation of a group of business leaders who called themselves Grand Action. This group had a lot of influence in architecture that was built afterwards in that city.
Dick and Betsy DeVos are the heirs to two major family fortunes and have spent a big part of their adult lives trying to implement change in the community, both locally and nationally. They are major donors to the Republican party and have done a lot of work in terms of making changes and state laws pertaining to labor and education. Dick DeVos has focused mostly on labor, while his wife has focused mostly on education. Dick DeVos was responsible for the law implemented in 2012 that made Michigan a state where union membership was no longer required to be employed, while his wife successfully pushed for expansion of charter schools in the country.
This couple has also done a great deal of philanthropy. Between the years 1989 and 2015, their Family Foundation has given away approximately 138.7 million dollars to all sorts of programs, including leadership programs, Health and Human Services, arts and culture, and policy initiatives that are related to education.
Education reform has been one of the initiatives that they have focused on in a major way. Dick DeVos actually founded an aviation charter high school that is located at the international airport in Grand Rapids. The couple claims that what they want to do is make it so that children from less well-off families are not denied the same types of opportunities that their own children had.
The DeVos have not always been successful in their endeavors. In the year 2000, voters did not approve of a constitutional amendment that they sponsored in order to have tax-funded vouchers for students made to be able to attend private schools. Additionally, six years later, Dick DeVos spend a great deal of money running for governor and ended up losing the race.
However, instead of throwing in the towel, they just changed their strategy. They started focusing on private school vouchers for students in other parts of the country, leading to 24 states and Washington DC now having some sort of vouchers for private schools available.
Dick and Betsy DeVos have done a lot in terms of changing the landscape of the law in the United States, as well as many local laws. Between this and their philanthropy, they have definitely had their share of influence and will likely continue to do the same in the future.
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