Dick DeVos: One of the World’s Most Renowned Businessman and Generous Philanthropist

The John F. Kennedy Center began a campaign in 2013 with the aim of raising $125 million. The campaign was conducted to fund a project that would see the expansion of the center through the construction of a riverfront pavilion, pedestrian bridge, and three pavilions in the center itself. Other improvements will include office and dining space, and educational and rehearsal spaces. David Rubenstein, the chairman at the center’s board of trustee was the first to make a donation to the project. Rubenstein donated $50 million, and so far, no one’s donation has come close to his. Other donors include the Boeing Co. which donated 20 million and Dick and Betsy Foundation which donated 1 million. The center, which was established in 1971, hopes to complete its expansion project in 2018.

 

DeVos’ Professional Profile

 

 

DeVos got his first job in 1974, working for Amway Corporation. DeVos held positions in different division including manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance, and research. He rose to the position of the company’s vice president in 1984. By the time he was leaving Amway, the firm had increased its annual sales by 50 percent.

 

 

Orlando Magic

 

 

In 1991, the DeVos family bought Orlando Magic from the National Basketball Association. Richard DeVos, DeVos’s father was the CEO and President of the franchise. In 2005, DeVos became a share holder of the company after his father divided ownership between his children.

 

 

Philanthropic Activities

 

 

In 1993, DeVos and his wife co-chaired the “Education Freedom Fund”. The Fund offers private scholarships to underprivileged families in Michigan which cannot afford the schools of their choice. The DeVos foundation currently deals with all the administrative costs associated with running the fund.

 

 

In 2000, DeVos became the chairman of “Kids First! Yes!” campaign committee. This campaign sponsored an initiative that would have repealed the Michigan constitution and permit tuition tax credits and vouchers for K-12 education. Unfortunately, the initiative lost. The DeVos Foundation has contributed money to programs such as the Children First America, Choices for Children, and the American Education Reform Council. The foundation also funds Christian schools in West Michigan.

 

 

In 2010, DeVos established the “West Michigan Aviation Academy”. This was the nation’s first ever aviation pubic high school. Responding to a question on where they derived the name, Dick’s wife Betsy said it was formed after considering the couple’s love of education, and her husband’s love of flying. The academy is situated at the “Gerald R. Ford International Airport”.

 

Read more at http://dickdevos.com/news/.

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