Betsy DeVos was born Elizabeth Prince in Holland, Michigan. Her father was a billionaire industrialist who founded the Prince Corporation. Betsy attended a private high school called the Holland Christian High School and she graduated from the Calvin College in Grand Rapids where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics in 1979. According to Philanthropy magazine, Mrs. DeVos was a college political activist. Today, her reputation is as a philanthropic contributor, an activist, a prominent Republican donor, and a successful businesswoman in her own right. Betsy is married to Dick DeVos who is an entrepreneur and is one of the 88th wealthiest individuals. Mrs. DeVoy was also chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000 and won re-election in 2003. Betsy and Dick have four children – two daughters and two sons.
To highlight Betsy’s achievements, on November 23, 2016, President Donald Trump nominated Mrs. DeVos to serve as the Secretary of Education. In January 2017, the Senate approved her nomination and on February 2017, a tie margin confirmed her, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie in Mrs. DeVos favor. Mrs. DeVos confirmation was a first in U.S. history because never had a Cabinet nominee been elected by a Vice President’s tiebreaking vote. Many wanted to know what Mrs. DeVos would bring to the educational table, since she is a proponent of school choice and she founded the American Federation for Children. Betsy continues to stand on the principal that parents should have the ability to choose charter, public, home, or private schools for their children.
In the Secretary’s interview with Philanthropy Roundtable, she commented that when her children were school age she and her husband became committed to helping parents, especially low-income parents, to have the same rights and privileges they have, for their children to attend a school of their choosing. Dick DeVos turned his commitment to action by becoming elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1990. Betsy started a foundation that gave scholarships to low-income families even though she realized that this would never go far enough to address the real problem of getting solid scholarships into the family’s hands. Further in the interview, Mrs. DeVos notes that her work is part of a “holistic effort to improve education for all Americans.” She believes in working for more donor advocacy efforts which she says is where money can make the biggest difference. When asked what would her Secretary of Education term result in, Secretary DeVos said that all parents would have the same opportunities to choose the best educational setting for their children, regardless of where they live and “that all students have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.”