In an interview published on Philanthropy Magazine, Betsy DeVos highlighted the progress the School Choice program had made and explained how she became an education reformist. She noted that the private-choice program had grown tremendously since the first program was incepted more than 25 years ago. According to Mrs. DeVos, there are around 250,000 scholars in 33 publicly financed choice programs throughout 17 states plus the District of Columbia.
Mrs. DeVos and her husband (Dick DeVos) used to visit their school going kids and meet with other parents who strived to ensure their children were learning in a favorable environment. The couple began to support few students by paying tuition fees for them. The movement grew at a fast rate, and after a short period, they had an operational foundation.
Who is Dick DeVos?
Dick DeVos is a Michigan-based investor, the son of Richard DeVos (the Co-founder of Amway), a politician, and an active philanthropist. He contested for the gubernatorial seat in Michigan but lost on slight margin to Jennifer Granholm. After studying at the Forest Hills High School, DeVos joined Northwood University and earned a degree in the field of business administration. He is married to Betsy Prince, and they have seven kids and five grandchildren.
DeVos established a successful career by holding influential positions at companies such as Amway Corporation, Orlando Magic, a franchise of NBA, and The Windquest Group. From 1993 to 2002, he served as the Amway’s President and was responsible for its operations in 50 countries across six continents. Before ascending to the presidency, DeVos was the firm’s Vice President managing its day-to-day operations in 18 countries out of North America. Under his guidance, the company tapped into new markets and tripled global sales to exceed local sales. His family appointed him as the Orlando Magic’s CEO and President in 1991.
Apart from establishing himself as a great entrepreneur in the corporate arena, DeVos has offered unwavering philanthropic support to various community initiatives. He is the brains behind the Education Freedom Fund that gave over 4,000 scholarships to needy kids in Michigan. He launched the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a top High School that intends to offer a comprehensive educational program with an aviation focus. DeVos has spearheaded numerous health improvement projects in the Grand Rapids Area including a $90m medical school, a $130M heart hospital, and a $30M Downtown Market.