Dick Devos, through his Family Foundation, has donated a million dollars to the John F. Kennedy Center’s planned expansion project, which just recently raised the total to be brought in to more than $50 million. According to Michael Neibauer, associate editor of the Washington Business Journal, the center for performing arts has already surpassed its original $125 million fundraising goal. The campaign is currently at $135.9 million.
What began in 2013 was a campaign which would add a riverfront pavilion, a pedestrian bridge and a center expansion, with three new pavilions, and extra spaces for education and rehearsals, dining and office space. So, who is Devos and what is his reason for philanthropy?
Born in Grand Rapids, Devos has been successful in his many business ventures. Even as a child, he was involved in the family business, Amway. After graduating from Northwood University, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. During his work for Amway, Devos became Vice President of the company’s foreign operations, that were already in 18 countries.
After the success with Amway, the Devos family acquired the Orlando Magic National Basketball Association’s franchise. After excelling to President and CEO of Orlando Magic, Devos left in early 1993 to once again join Amway as its President, taking over for his father, Amway Founder Rich Devos.
Devos started the Education Freedom Fund which has given out more than 4,000 scholarships according to his website. http://dickdevos.com/. These scholarships were provided mainly for Michicgan’s underprivileged children. Devos also has served on the Michigan State Board of Education.
Devos is also involved in the Windquest Group, a privately investment management firms, with holdings in clean tech industry, hospitality, manufacturing, nonprofit solutions and technology. His wife, Betsy, is herself a community champion, as she has served as Secretary of Education, focusing her efforts on all students, without preference to their socioeconomic level or location.
Betsy and Dick Devos have been married for more than 30 years. They have four children.
They created their foundation in 1989 as a charitable giving vehicle. The Grand Rapids foundation has donated millions to artistic, civic, community, educational and free-market economic organizations since 1990.Being very active in the community has been the Devos’ priority since then, where they have helped to revitalize the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are both on numerous boards including the Grand Rapids Economic Club, Project Clarity, Spectrum Health, West Michigan Aviation Academy and Willow Creek. http://www.dbdvfoundation.org