Richard (Dick) DeVos’ life has been one of hard work and generous philanthropy. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he attended school in the Forest Hills Public School System. His bachelor’s of business degree was earned at Northwoods University also in Michigan. His father, Richard Sr., co-founder of Amway started him off helping with the family business where he worked his way up to Vice President of the company.
Soon Dick was branching out on his own and started The Windquest Group. Around the same time, he was appointed manager of the Orlando Magic Basketball Franchise, which was acquired by the DeVos family. In 2000, Dick returned to Amway as President, taking his father’s place and restructured the company, which is now Alticor. Two years later he retired from Amway to devote his time to Windquest. In 2006 he ran and lost the republican ticket for Governor of Michigan.
Dick’s and his wife Betsy, recently appointed Secretary of Education in the Trump administration, have been married for thirty-five years. They have seven children and five grand children. So it is no surprise that most of their philanthropic work has been in education. A proponent of School choice, vouchers, and charter schools, they have supported Christian schools in their home town for years. Financial contributions have also gone to support arts and culture, community, justice, and leadership, with the whole family helping to make decisions about where and how much to give. The DeVos are very generous in their giving. Their lifetime giving has been recognized by Forbes to be 1.33 billion dollars. In 2015 alone, they gave 11.6 which far exceed the last five years of contributions (5.3 million) to political campaigns. Their goal in giving is to reach and serve people in a direct way, outside of politics.
DeVos is an author. “Rediscovering American Values: The Foundations of Our Freedom for the 21st Century” published in 1998, talks about principles, like honesty and integrity, and how to let them guide our lives. He is an avid aviator, and a two time National Champion sailor, competing frequently in the Chicago-Mackinac race. The welcome message on Dick DeVos website sums up his life best, “Be bold. Take the first step today. Smile. Be humble. Work hard. Volunteer. Tutor. The important thing is to make a difference and follow through on your commitment.” Not many people practice what they preach, however looking at the life of Dick DeVos and his families commitment to helping others reach the same level of success, it is evident that he does just that.