The DeVos family giving tradition began with Richard and Helen DeVos. Helen, who just recently passed away, has a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan named after her. She didn’t just give money. She enjoyed visiting and reading books to the patients. Richard DeVos is the cofounder of Amway, and was still running that company when Betsy married his son, Rich, who was also working for Amway at the time. She clearly knew she was joining a family that was both successful in business and generous with their money. Helen DeVos was her mother-in-law.
Betsy and her husband Rich have followed in the footsteps of his parents. And they took it in their own direction after they visited a private school for low-income children, The Potter’s House in Grand Rapids. According to Betsy, the determination of the parents of the students to give their sons and daughters the best education possible even though it meant a financial sacrifice to the family deeply impressed her. She and Rich had young children at the time. She appreciated how their wealth guaranteed good educations for their children, and wanted that available for all children, regardless of family income. Therefore, The Potter House has remained one of the recipients of their giving. And, like her mother-in-law, Betsy also volunteers her time there. She has served as a volunteer tutor. She went on to become a great advocate for school choice. Those efforts have resulted in her appointment by President Donald Trump as Secretary of Education. Of course, that was a political decision based on her activities to advance the cause of school choice. However, the root of her belief in the benefits of school choice is the same dedication to improving education for children, especially the poor and middle class children whose families cannot afford private schools.
The Dick and Betsy Family Foundation contributes to a wide variety of causes, though education is the central theme. Some of the recipients of their generosity include The 74, an educational launched by Campbell Brown, a former anchor of CNN and Loudspeaker Media, Inc. They also supported Brown’s nonprofit organization The Partnership for Educational Justice. They gave money to Success Academy Charter Schools, which are in New York City and run by Eva Moskowitz. They support GREAAT Schools, Inc., a nonprofit management company for charter schools. Her and her husband’s foundation gave to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Betsy sat on their board. She recently left the American Federation for Children. And they donated to the Alliance for School Choice. And they support Christian educational groups such as: Christian Schools International, Grand Rapids Christian School Association, the Ada Christian School Society and the Rehoboth Christian School Association.
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