Around twenty-seven years ago, in Grand Rapids, in 1991, an idea was presented about a sports and convention center being built in the north of downtown. A man, Dick DeVos, who at the time was on his way to becoming CEO of his family’s business, Amway Corp., didn’t like this one bit and began to lobby against it. DeVos’ concern about the construction stemmed from a high likelihood of it negatively effecting the downtown of Grand Rapids as he had seen a similar situation occur before and didn’t want it to happen again, this time to his birth city.
The tireless campaigning DeVos did to prevent the sports arena from being built out of the confines of the central business area ended up forming Grand Action, which was a team of leaders in business who wholeheartedly supported the erecting of Michigan State University medical school, the Van Andel arena, the Grand Rapids city market, the DeVos Place convention center, and the DeVos Performance Hall.
The building of those structures have been said to be the reason for changing the skyline of Grand Rapids.
Dick and his wife Betsy have both spent a long time trying to change policies and institutions. They are donors to the GOP, and their influence politically has made differences in state laws that affect labor and education.
The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, from 1989 to 2015, was reported to have given a total of $138.7 million dollars to programs like art and culture, churches, health and human services, and more.
Dick DeVos was born as Richard Marvin DeVos, Jr, on October 21, 1955, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the son of Richard Marvin DeVos and Helen June, née Van Wesep.
Even as a child growing up, DeVos was active in his family’s business, Amway. He and his brother worked almost as attendants, doing anything from cleaning up to helping with guests.
DeVos attended Forest Hills public school, and later on, he graduated from Northwood University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In addition to this, DeVos has not only been given honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University, Northwood University, Grove City College, but recognition for being a distinguished alumni from Northwood University as well.
DeVos married his wife, Elizabeth Dee née Prince, known as Betsy, in 1980. She is the current Secretary of Education in the US. The couple have 4 children. Learn more: http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/