While, having an esteemed professional career, Dick Devos, Jr. has also been active in Michigan state politics and now world politics. Today in philanthropic pursuits, the Devos family generosity is unparalleled.
A quick review of his corporate business efforts includes:
- Amway where he served in many capacities with positive results. Ending in his role as president and chief executive officer, the business grew into a $4.5 billion organization under his leadership;
- Orlando Magic Basketball team management, Dick succeeded his father as president and chief executive officer;
- Windquest Group where he served as president in this privately held investment organization.
Dick’s political ties to the republican party, like Amway and Orlando Magic, started with his father. Dick was elected to the Michigan Board of Education in 1990. Sadly, he resigned that post after serving just two of his eight-year term to return to Amway.
In 2006, Dick ran for Michigan governor under a platform of:
- Improving the state’s economy and personal income growth;
- Increasing the volume of startup small businesses by making Michigan more “business friendly;” and citing some changes in regulatory and tax reductions;
- Decreasing unemployment;
- Enhancing tourism; and
- Increasing educational funding.
After spending about $35 million of his personal funds for campaigning, Devos was defeated by the Democratic candidate.
Moving to a focus on philanthropy, the Devos family line has five foundations, the oldest of which started with Dick, Sr. and his wife. As president of the Dick and Betsy Devos Family Foundation, their record of charitable donations is extensive. Established in 1989, the foundation was born from a desire to improve:
- Educational; and
- Artistic organizations.
Although they are known political contributors, the value of contributions to organizations noted above, far exceed the funds funneled to politics.
As devout Christians, the Devos show their passion via keen interests in religious schools; however, across the state of Michigan, and nationwide, many organizations have reaped the benefits of the Devos families. To name only a few:
- Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids;
- Ferris State University in Big Rapids;
- Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning;
- Northwood University in Midland (Mr. Devos Alma Mater);
- Potter’s House in Wyoming;
- West Michigan Aviation Academy;
- Rehoboth Christian School;
- DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland;
- Spectrum Health Foundation; not to mention
- Numerous civic/community, leadership development; public policy; health and human services; and churches.
With an admirable commitment to improving humanity, the Devos record is clear and potentially understated. Through the different perspectives offered by their children, Dick and Betsy Devos continue to improve their efforts to offer more and better charitable opportunities.