Archive for Politics

Dick Devos: Working for Grand Rapids

Dick Devos is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His family has been quite prominent in the community. Mr. Devos’ father was the founder of the famous Amway Corporation, and Dick Devos would work for the family firm for several years before becoming the company’s CEO in the 1990s.

 

From his earliest days as an important business owner and executive in Grand Rapids, Dick Devos has worked to build up the city and see it move successfully into the future. He has done this through his helping to attract business and development and through his philanthropic endeavors.

 

One of Mr. Devos’ first successes in helping the Grand Rapids community was in renovating the downtown area. In the early 1990s, there was a plan to build an arena and convention center north of the downtown area in Grand Rapids. Mr. Devos knew that this would be a blow to the downtown area and potential development of that area. Mr. Devos organized a group of local business leaders who were successful in bringing the arena to downtown Grand Rapids. Dick Devos was also instrumental in bringing a medical school, a convention center and a performing arts center to the downtown vicinity.

 

Dick Devos also helped the city of Grand Rapids through the reinvigoration of the city’s international airport. Gerald R. Ford International Airport was not performing up to the level that Mr. Devos knew that it could. There just weren’t enough flights going in and out of the airport.

 

AirTran Airways was a smaller carrier based in Florida that Mr. Devos believed that he could convince to start flying in and out of Grand Rapids. Mr. Devos used his connection as part owner of the Orlando Magic to get a meeting with the folks at AirTran. They would ultimately start serving the Grand Rapids airport.

 

AirTran was eventually purchased by Southwest Airlines. Mr. Devos was able to convince Southwest to not just keep the current service in Grand Rapids. He convinced them to add additional flights out of the city.

 

Grand Rapids has also benefited from the philanthropic endeavors of Dick Devos and his wife Betsy. They provided a substantial gift that allowed a children’s wing to be added to one of the major medical centers in Grand Rapids.

 

The Devos’ also invest heavily in education. Mr. Devos helped create and fund an aviation themed charter school. This charter school is located at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport that Dick Devos helped to make what it is today.

 

To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.

Reforming Education With Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos is a philanthropist, businesswomen and the US Secretary of Education. She is best known for her efforts to reform the US educational system. Together with her husband, Dick DeVos, she founded a Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, a platform they use to support the educational reform that focuses on developing and improving vouchers and charter school system.

 

Brief Family History

Betsy Devos was born in 1958. Her family was affluent and conservative, two factors that majorly influenced her political views. Her father was Edgar Prince, a Dutch industrialist notable for his political contributions and charitable giving. Betsy inherited this philanthropist philosophy.

 

 

She and her husband, Dick DeVos, are known together with her husband Dick, financially contributed to religious and political causes. Their contributions to these causes attracted a lot of public’s attention, some criticizing and some praising DeVos efforts to reform the educational system.

 

Political Path

Before marrying Dick, Betsy attended Calvin college where she formed her political views, influenced by her hometown’s cultural and religious ties to the Netherlands. She became involved in campus politics, which was the birth of her political career.

 

 

Betsy joined an educational-choice movement, emphasizing the importance of students having multiple choices when pursuing their academic endeavors. In her interview for Philanthropy Roundtable, Mrs. Devos argued that the current educational system, one that includes public schools, is failing. Because of this, she embraced and pursued radical reforms, such as vouchers and tax credits.

 

Pushing For Reform

Dick and Betsy became more politically involved in 1990 when Dick ran (and got elected) for the State Board of Education. Betsy started a foundation that offered a scholarship to those families who needed it. While this was wonderful and helpful, according to Betsy, it was not enough. She wanted to change the system and thus had joined the educational-choice movement.

 

 

In the 1990s she served on the boards of American Education Reform Council and Children First America. She and Dick acted locally and successfully passed the first charter-school bill in 1993 (Michigan). Michigan families were pleased with the law, encouraging the DeVos family to push constitutional change (one that would allow tax-credit scholarships or vouchers statewide), but the effort failed in 2000.

 

American Federation for Children

After the efforts for constitutional change failed, she (together with other people and organizations) formed the American Federation for Childer, whose goal is to educate public on the importance of having a broader educational choice. The AFC is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children Action Fund, which is a political action committee.

 

 

The most significant success has been seen in Flordia, where 50 000 students attend the school of their choice, thanks to the tax-credit program. Louisiana and Indiana are also showing signs of progress, according to Betsy.

 

Betsy’s Philosophy

According to Betsy, she is trying to tear down the embedded mindset of students attending the schools they are closest to, partly because it is financially favorable. She also sees great potential in digital technology, arguing that this new technology will further democratize the school’s system. Betsy also sees the potential in homeschooling, charter schools, and virtual schools.

 

For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.

Betsy DeVos is changing the world over

Our world lacks the proper role models are children are hoping to find. While this is true for boys, it is even more accurate for girls. Media bombards girls with messages that they should gossip, be engaged in Twitter Wars, become shallow and give their bodies away to men who just want to use them for their own ends. However, while our world may be lacking in these needed role models, Betsy DeVos stands as the beacon of light that our girls so desperately need.

 

Betsy DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan which is where she was also raised. Here, she would spend her childhood and attend the Holland Christian High School. This private institution formed a passion in her heart for private education. She saw its power and influence over a child’s life and knew this was something she wanted to promote later in her life.

 

It was at Calvin College residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan that she would earn her degree in business in economics and launch her respected career.

 

She began serving the Republican Party as the National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 to 1997. The GOP would also ask her to serve as the Chairwoman of the Republican Party in Michigan from 1996 to 2000. After stepping down for three years, they would approach her with the request that she serve again in that role in 2003. She served in this position so well that the administration of George Bush took notice. The Bush administration would approach her and request she serve the National Republican Senatorial Committee as the finance chairperson, a role she gladly accepted.

 

Her career in politics would reach its height when she was approved by the 2016 Senate to serve in the Trump Cabinet as the Secretary of Education. Here, she implanted her passions of charter schools, school vouchers, and school choice.

 

While these political offices are respectable, where her legacy honestly comes from is her service in the area of philanthropy. Her most famous contribution in philanthropy comes from the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.

 

This foundation is driven by the passionate Christian beliefs of Betsy DeVos. Her organization focuses on bettering our country by building on the core values that strengthen every nation. Her foundation cultivates people’s abilities to lead, educate, seek justice, help the community, and produce art.

 

In the year 2015, Betsy DeVos gave $11.6 million through the DeVos Foundation. This gift caught the attention of Forbes who ranked the DeVos family number 24 on their list of America’s donors. As of this writing, the DeVos has given over $139 million to these various causes and the organizations that support, promote, and spread them.

 

Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter.