With the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the Education Secretary in Donald Trump’s administration, a rigorous vetting process ensued. Betsy and her husband, Dick DeVos, were required to make public all their philanthropic and political donations. The couple took the chance to prove critics wrong, especially because some argued that the DeVoses were contributing too much to political campaigns. From the data released, it was clear that contrary to critics’ arguments, philanthropy took the lion share of the couple’s cumulative donations.
Going by the data presented to the federal government, Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation donated $5.3 million to political campaigns from 2011 to 2015. The data also showed that the couple gave $11.6 million to philanthropy in 2015, which roughly translates to over 200 percent of philanthropic donations over the said period.
Narrowing down to the couple’s philanthropic donations in 2015, a sizeable percentage of it went to educational ends. According to Dick DeVos, this is a clear indication of their commitment to revolutionizing education systems in the United States. In an interview with MLive and The Grand Rapids Press, Dick lamented over the inadequacies of the school system in the country. He argued that zip codes were barring some kids from accessing quality education, against the American dream. Changing this unfortunate reality remains as the DeVoses primary philanthropic agenda.
Most of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation’s donations in 2013 were directed towards Michigan schools. The main beneficiaries of these donations were West Michigan Aviation Academy and Potter’s House in Wyoming, with each receiving over $300,000. Other recipients include the Ferris State University, Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning, and Northwood University in Midland.
Critics argued that the donations made by Dick and Betsy were geared towards advancing a selfish political agenda. Responding to these unfounded claims, Mark Brewer, a brilliant American attorney, said that the donation records were available for anyone who cared to verify. The DeVoses spokesperson, John Truscott, stated that the data would have been made public regardless of whether the vetting panel asked for it.
More about Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos is a BBA graduate from Northwood University in Midland, an institution he has been giving huge financial donations. A native of Grand Rapids, Dick has an impressive entrepreneurial profile in the region. For over seven years, DeVos has been sitting on the board of directors at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. He has also been chairing the Grand Action Committee since 1992. Dick is the president of The Windquest Group as well as the founder and chairman of West Michigan Aviation Academy.