In 1993, Dick DeVos became the Chief Executive Officer at Amway. His father, Richard DeVos, started the company in 1959 and grew Amway into a multi-billion dollar company. A nine-year tenure as CEO lead to continued growth for Amway. Most people outside of Michigan don’t realize how much Dick DeVos has done for his community. Likely, they don’t know about his commitment to education and philanthropy, either.
Fighting Against Bad Business Decisions Before Becoming CEO
Officials in Grand Rapids, Michigan, planned to build a sports and convention center. The plan first arose in 1991, and DeVos knew how to respond right away. As soon as he learned of the plan, he lobbied against the convention center. He believed the effort would hurt Grand Rapids in a similar manner to the Pontiac Silverdome and Detroit years earlier. DeVos’ efforts against the plan lead to the formation of Grand Action.
Grand Action transformed Grand Rapids into a prosperous city. The entire landscape of Grand Rapids changed after Grand Action began building in the area. From these efforts, performance centers and sports arenas as well as a medical school were built. Businesses leaders in control of Grand Action improved the city in countless ways. Dick DeVos helped spearhead this effort and revitalization of the Grand Rapids area.
A History Of Philanthropy and Innovation
Dick DeVos, alongside his wife Betsy, has improved communities and changed policies. For instance, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation gave away nearly $150 million to charities and causes from 1989 to 2015. Both Dick and Betsy donated over $10 million to build a children’s hospital in their hometown. Few families have shown a more consistent approach to helping children and families in the state of Michigan.
The DeVoses championed improvements in education both at home and across the country. They founded a charter school located at the Grand Rapids International Airport. Speaking of that airport, Dick DeVos helped turn the location from a barren airstrip to a bustling airport with heavy air traffic. Across the country, this concept for an aviation charter school has been copied and improved upon as well.
Within Michigan, Dick DeVos helped give workers in the state more options. A 2012 law he helped draft made it possible for workers to find employment without joining a union. Workers could then choose where to work without being forced to join a union and pay union dues. Regardless of the politics of the situation, DeVos provided Michigan’s workforce with more options and more freedom to control their employment.
What Will Dick DeVos Accomplish Next?
Dick DeVos has made many accomplishments over the years, and he’s suffered some large setbacks. His wife is currently the Secretary of Education for the United States and continues to pursue improvements in education. As for Mr. DeVos, he continues to work on the projects that drive his passion. Dick DeVos continues to improve his community and pioneer improvements in various industries, both inside Michigan and around the US.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.