For Dick and Betsy DeVos, changing the face of their hometown hasn’t always been easy. Despite the many obstacles they have faced, the couple still envisioned a town where the construction of buildings positively impact Grand Rapid’s overall growth. Dick and Betsy DeVos also continued to dream of a town that offers poor children the opportunity to attend a good school. After many years of hard work, Dick DeVos has changed the skyline of Grand Rapids and provided unprivileged students with more educational choices.
Knowing that the creation of Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills had a negative impact on Detroit, Dick DeVos was strongly against the proposed plan to construct a multi-purpose sports and convention arena in Grand Rapids over twenty-five years ago. During his campaign against this facility, he formed a group known as Grand Action. The driven business leaders who are involved in this group played an integral role in the development of many popular buildings in Grand Rapids like the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Grand Rapids City Market, and Van Andel Arena. These buildings not only changed the city’s skyline, but they also served as positive resources to the citizens of Grand Rapids.
Along with supporting the construction of buildings that would positively impact Grand Rapids, Dick and Betsy DeVos have been focusing on education reform. Even though some voters in their hometown were against the tax-funded vouchers that would enable underprivileged students to enroll in private school, the DeVos’ continued on their strategic mission and eventually encouraged twenty-four states to endorse private school vouchers for needy students.
Dick DeVos also impressively spearheaded the formation of West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is a charter school that educates 600 students from seven counties. With humble beginnings at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, the school now has its own building in Grand Rapids. Since gaining admission into the academy has become so competitive, the school holds a public lottery every spring if there is an outrageous number of applications.
Dick and Betsy DeVos are also avid philanthropists. During a twenty-six year span, the couple donated roughly $138 million to important causes involving arts, religion, culture, health, humanity, and leadership. In addition, the couple made a generous contribution of $12.5 million to the development of one of the leading children’s hospital in Grand Rapids.
Today, the DeVos’ are continuing their mission to campaign for supportive causes that will significantly improve their hometown. As GOP mega influencers, they intend to change some of Michigan’s laws that relate to labor, education, and much more.
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