In 1991 Dick DeVos, then CEO of Amway Corporation, took a controversial stand regarding the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. At this time a plan was made public for a downtown, multi-sport, convention hall and arena. Dick DeVos saw what the same type of project did to Grand Rapids’ neighboring city of Detroit and he didn’t want that for his city.
Out of this opposition a new organization was born. Grand Action is a collection of Grand Rapids business leaders who wanted to drive the growth of the city in a way that would be profitable for years to come. This group’s decisions helped shape the city’s skyline and avoid the fate that befell Detroit.
Dick and his wife, Betsy, are both Michigan natives who have fought improve their home city and state. Their political donations and actions have led to major reforms throughout the cities of Michigan. However, their philanthropy may how they left their deepest mark.
From 1989-2015 the DeVos family has given $137.8 to various causes including the arts, health, churches, and educational institutions. Their staggering donation of $12.6 million dollars to the construction of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids helped to improve the lives of the city’s youth.
Dick DeVos seems to have a knack for leadership. He is an avid, and experienced pilot, and has enjoyed it for a large portion of his life. His knowledge and experienced led him to be appointed as a civilian overseer of the Federal Aviation Administration. This role will look to Dick DeVos, and other members, to guide the FAA’s senior management on policy, spending, long-term planning, and regulations.
Dick DeVos’ dedication to the education system is one of the DeVos’ favorite causes. They advocate for charter schools and educational freedom that can help poorer students get a quality and useful education. Their efforts have been met with some opposition, particularly after Betsy DeVos was named the secretary of education, but they continue to fight for the system that they believe in.
He has a long history of success in the aviation management field. He was instrumental in the renovation of Gerald Ford International Airport. He helped to persuade Southwest Airlines to fly into the airport. This increased passenger load and decreased prices.
Dick DeVos may have retired from Amway, but he has not slowed down. He currently serves as the CEO of his own company, the Windquest group, in addition to his other endeavors. Dick DeVos revolutionized the business that his father started and continues to improve the world through his philanthropic, political, and corporate efforts.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.