Dick DeVos is a household name throughout the state of Michigan. For starters, he was the CEO of Amway, the family business, for years. Alongside his work atop one of the largest corporations in the country at the top, Dick DeVos is also a prominent contributor to Republican policy. As a prominent conservative and donor to the GOP, Dick DeVos has floated his name in the political arena for decades. In fact, Dick DeVos’s wife, Betsy DeVos, is currently serving as the Secretary of Education for President Trump in Washington D.C. While many titles and names can apply to Dick DeVos, his history deserves more exploration than his title.
Dick DeVos formed the Grand Action group back in the 1990s in response to a potential convention center being built in the state of Grand Rapids, MI. DeVos worked alongside several other prominent businessmen in order to push against the construction of the facility. DeVos was on top of the ball and quick to point out how badly Detroit suffered when the Pistons and Lions abandoned their respective stadiums. A convention center that doesn’t have a pro team in it can quickly turn into an albatross on the economy.
Once Grand Action was successful in helping to stave off the prospective convention center, they got to work on their own. The goal of the group was to improve the city of Grand Rapids through intelligent, thoughtful, and important contributions to the area. Dick DeVos is directly responsible for the erection of several important facilities like Michigan State University’s medical division. Additionally, the DeVos family was the driving force behind the construction of a children’s hospital in the region. Both of these projects only serve to exemplify exactly what Dick DeVos has tried to give back to the city.
Outside of his direct work in the field of business, Dick DeVos and his family have been active philanthropists. The DeVos Family Foundation gives hundreds of millions of dollars to charities in the area over the past 30 years. Alongside the $103 million donated toward the children’s hospital, the DeVos family has given over $138 million art, leadership, and cultural development programs. The state of Grand Rapids and its current booming presence can be tied directly back to their work. While Dick DeVos doesn’t get to take credit for all of this work, due to a politically divided America, it is inarguable that he has had an impact on the region.
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