Dick DeVos has come out in the open about what he and his wife Betsy have been doing with their money recently. Some have mistakenly believed the DeVos’s philanthropy motivations to be politically-driven, yet when you really get to know this entrepreneur and his wife you find a man who believes in the power of private education and how it can be a tremendous step for young children. But Dick DeVos has gone far beyond the classroom and business to help people in the Grand Rapids, MI community. He’s also sponsored youth competitions, given to hospitals, churches, food banks, and urban housing and development groups. His wife Betsy was chosen to head the US Education Department and just prior to the confirmation hearings Dick DeVos made it known he and Betsy had given $139 million in their lifetimes.
Dick DeVos grew up in Grand Rapids and saw his father, Richard DeVos Sr. show generosity to neighbors in need and start different charity groups. Richard DeVos Sr. is famous for founding Amway Corporation, a company that uses direct selling to market household products to various customers and his family has all held executive positions at the company at one time or another. Dick learned from his father just how important it was to give back to the community, and as a father himself he’s seen his children become excited about giving.
Dick DeVos worked for Amway Corporation for over 20 years including serving as CEO from 1993 to 2002. When his father bought the controlling stakes in the NBA’s Orlando Magic in 1991, Dick also served as president for the NBA team. Not long before that he and Betsy cofounded The Windquest Group where they spend most of their time in business today. The Windquest Group started out as an endeavor to bring alternative energy and technology disruptors into the mainstream, and notable Michigan companies in its portfolio include ElectraTherm, LexTM3 and Huron Ventures. They also own shares in local retailers including The Stowe Company and Reserve Wine and Food.
Dick and Betsy DeVos first became serious about changing education in Michigan around 1990 when Dick ran for and won election to the Board of Education. But they decided to take it further by starting scholarships for both families and private schools under the DeVos Foundation including the Education Freedom Fund and Kids First America. At one point they took the issue of tax credits and school vouchers before the Michigan voters in the 2000 election when they hoped an initiative on the ballot would change the current regulations, but the voters voted against the amendment. Later on Dick and Betsy started a charter school group and later helped the West Michigan Aviation Academy open at the Gerald Ford Airport.
Until recently, I had only ever known Dick DeVos for his executive career. As President and CEO of Orlando Magic from 1991-1994, President of Amway from 1993-2002 where he tripled international sales making them exceeded domestic sales, or presently, as the President of the Windquest group. Little did I know that he was also a remarkable philanthropist, not only giving but honing in on specific issues that he believed would make a greater impact.
I discovered that DeVos’ main focus was on education, with 26% of his charitable donations for 2015 geared in this direction and another 3% to groups that supported education reform. DeVos claims that he would like to better the chances of every child receiving a high-quality education instead of the quality of education pertaining to which zip code they were from. He and his wife, Betsy DeVos, like to stress that the schools they support are rigorous, have adept staff and can hold themselves accountable. One way I’ve found that they’ve done this is by launching the first aviation-themed charter school five years ago. The school focuses on STEM, aeronautical engineering, and robotics and it accepts students from 7 surrounding counties, a third of whom are economically disadvantaged. The success of this school is shown by the 86% graduation rate but DeVos chooses instead to place importance on the positive impact on the students’ lives, attitudes, and view of the world.
Another focus of his is arts and culture, coming in second at 21% of his donations in 2015. 22 million was given to launch the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. It was given specifically to support Michael Kaiser’s efforts to better the business side of arts organizations. DeVos believes, as do I, that the future of the global arts community depends on having high-quality arts management. Dick DeVos and his wife also provided a monetary gift to the Spectrum Health Foundation to aid in securing a top physician and researcher in childhood cancers which improved the survival rate for those treated at the Helen’s DeVros Children Hospital. Dick and his wife ensure that when a contribution is made, it will be made in a way that will make a dramatic change for the better.
Bob Reina is a great person that loves to give back, especially to animals. He also loves to give back to people and help them out in various ways. It is simply remarkable what he has done for people with Talk Fusion, which is a video communication service that allows people to chat in various ways using video. It is especially helpful for people that are looking for a change in their life and they are not afraid to try it right now. You hear stories of people that have not started driving until they were in their late 50’s. It is an old expression, but it is true in every sense of the word: it is never too late.
The company has only been around for nine years, but in those nine years, they have done a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people. That is how Bob Reina likes to live his life. Some people live for themselves and others live for others. Bob Reina falls in the category of someone that is living for others. He is inspired when he hears stories of people that have had success, no matter what their age is or what their background is.
I’m also in shock and awe at the number of animal lives he has saved with his record-breaking donations. Animals need help and they can’t ask for it and sometimes have trouble finding homes. Reina steps up to the plate for them and helps them out as much as possible. He also helps out as many human beings as possible with Talk Fusion. When they have all of these video tools which are part of Talk Fusion and can be downloaded with their app through the iTunes store or the Google Play store, it gives people the chance to start over. Sometimes people would like to hit rewind on their lives and start from the beginning. This is what Talk Fusion is all about: starting over and having a new life. The one you have written for you does not need to be the one that carries into the future. You can write a new one.
As a member of the DeVos family, Dick DeVos has successfully been able to follow closely down the path of his father, the innovator behind this company and the current leader of the family. As the son of Richard DeVos, Dick DeVos has always had large shoes to fill and has dedicated his entire career to continuing and to growing the legacy of the DeVos family. Dick DeVos is not only an innovator and a businessman, but is also a family man who puts his family in consideration when it comes to making important decisions for the future of himself as well as his family.
Dick DeVos is a rare individual who has known that he has wanted to be a businessman even when he was a young boy. Dick DeVos has fond memories of playing with his brother in the family office of Amway Corporation which was an office that was located in the basement of his family home when he was a child. Even before any formal education, Dick DeVos was a part of the family business and worked hard to file papers, run errands, and to even give product descriptions to the clients of the business.
By college, Dick DeVos knew that he wanted to earn a business degree to become a businessman just like his father. After earning a degree in business administration, Dick DeVos was able to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a part of the company as an official employee. Over the next several decades, Dick DeVos worked hard to prove himself to be a businessman in his own right. Decades later, after joining the company, Dick DeVos eventually went on to be the new CEO of the company and lead the company far into the future and towards more success.