Back around 1991, there were plans in the Grand Rapids area for a new building to be started that was going to be a sports arena and a convention center for multi-purposes. Around the same time, Mr. DeVos was working his way up his family’s company rather quickly. The family owned the Amway Corporation and he was already in the position to become CEO of the company when he was ready. As it happens, Dick DeVos was greatly against the project of building the new sports and convention center. As soon as he heard about the plans for it, he started to lobby against it.
Worries Over New Center
There were many reasons why Dick was against this new proposed convention center and sports arena. He was a firm believer that its construction would be harmful to the area of downtown Grand Rapids. Because of his campaigning against the proposed plans, he formed the group called Grand Action. This was a group of top local business leaders in the area that were also behind the project. These leaders were also some of the major driving forces behind some other large construction projects that were completed in the area such as the MSU medical school and the Dick DeVos Performance Hall.
Both Dick and Betsy DeVos were heirs to their respective family fortunes. However, they didn’t use that to live a life of luxury. They both spent a majority of their adult years trying to change both institutions and policies in their hometown. They are also both mega donors for the Grand Old Party. Their influences in the political world have caused many of the state laws concerning education and labor to be changed.
In addition to their local influences, they have also been known to have their influences extend much farther than their conservative and Republican views and policies in which they are avid supporters of. Together, they have given away multi-millions in scholarships for things such as leadership programs in both health and human services. The couple had also spent millions of their dollars donating towards the construction of the children’s hospital in the area back in 2006.
Growth Of Dick DeVos Charter School In Michigan
In Michigan, Mr. DeVos had started a charter school for high school students back in 2010. It was very small when it first opened and there were only around 80 students enrolled. Today, there are over 600 students who are enrolled and some come from over seven different counties in the state to attend. This charter school is based around Dick’s love for aviation and was fully supported by his wife. Some of the students that are enrolled travel very far to attend this great school.
In order to get into this aviation charter school, students need to apply and will get entered into a lottery for possible acceptance. This happens when the amount of applications exceeds the amount of student openings. The lottery will give everyone a fair chance of getting in. The school fits his wife’s philosophy about how important education is for our youth. Learn more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos