Dick Devos – Education’s Top Defender

Dick DeVos has received lots of criticism and attention has his wife became the Secretary of Education for the Trump administration. However their political contributions are outmatched by their charitable contributions which add up to almost $139 million over their lifetimes. The Devoses are from West Michigan and were previously questioned about their foundation.


In 2015, the DeVos family financially contributed more than $11 million to a variety of charitable organizations, according to a document published on the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation website. That is more than double what they have given in campaign donations over the last five years. The Devoses are a part of a family dynasty that has been a key player in Republican politics for decades. Dick Devos’ dad is Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. Rich and his four adult children have given out $104 million in charitable contributions in 2015, taking 24th place in Forbe’s latest America’s Top Givers list. After analyzing data offered up by the Devos’ family, Forbes has recorded the Devos family lifetime giving at $1 billion. Betsy DeVos is also from a family known for its political giving.


Both Dick and Betsy have made education a priority. The Devos couple has given over $3 million to educational causes, which was nearly 26 percent of their charitable donations made this year. Their foundation also awarded $357,000 to groups that support education reform. Dick Devos says their contributions reflects the priority they have given to rebuilding education. The DeVoses are strong supporters of vouchers and charter schools, which critics say take away tax dollars from public schools. The DeVos want to address the failing of the one-size-fits-all public education platform.


The official report listed Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State University, Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning, Northwood University, Potter’s House, West Michigan Aviation Academy and Rehoboth Christian School, as the top beneficiaries for 2013. The Devos’ foundation does not list a breakdown for their 2014 tax return. Liberal critics say the Devos’ family are using their political and philanthropic giving to pursue a ideological agenda in education. Devos’ spokesman John Truscott says the report shows the family’s attempts to be more transparent about their contributions.


Dick DeVos also supports an art competition in Grand Rapids every year, since 2009. In 2012 Betsy and Dick contributed $22.5 million to the Kennedy Center Institute of Arts Management. Dick is also an adovcate of free-market economics and has contributed to organizations that support free-market economics including the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute. In 2008, the Devos family established an annual scholarship that support MA, MS, MBA students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, specifically those from third-world countries. Dick Devos continue to help strengthen the education system.