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Mr. And Mrs. DeVos: Making Changes Within Their Own Hometown


Dick DeVos grew up and was working in his family’s business. He was quickly on his way to becoming the CEO of Amway Corporation until he had seen that there were plans for a new arena to be built in the Grand Rapids area. He was very opposed to it and quickly decided to lobby against its creation. He wasn’t keen on the idea because he feared that building the convention center in the downtown area would be detrimental. He did end up moving up to CEO of his family’s business from 1993 until 2002.

 

His campaigning became noticed and it led to the formation of a group of business leaders all rallying together against the new facility being built. The group called themselves Grand Action. Both Dick and Betsy DeVos came from wealthy family’s in which they were heirs to. However, this didn’t stop them from pursuing their dreams and hopes for the future of their hometown of Grand Rapids. Together, their foundation has awarded millions in leadership programs for things like health and human services, arts and culture, policy initiatives and church organizations. They are also big on education reform and have also donated a lot of money towards private schools and scholarships.

 

The couple have also worked very hard on their philanthropy and education advocacy efforts. Even though they may not always succeed in their efforts, they never decide to give up. When they lost some of their campaigns, they chose to shift their efforts towards offering private school vouchers for schools across the country. Twenty-four states and counting are now able to offer some type of vouchers for kids to attend a private school.

 

Mr. DeVos Trying For The Top Board Of The FAA

 

Dick now has another reason why he needs to head to Washington D.C. aside from visiting Betsy. The pilot and Amway star has now been appointed to a top civilian panel that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration. He is now one of seven other members that were announced by the United States Department of Transportation Secretary. This panel is given the authority to advise the senior management of the FAA on things such as their spending, policies, regulatory matters and long-range planning. In collective terms, they are helping to chart the FAA’s strategic course.

 

Dick DeVos, along with the other appointees, will serve in a volunteer capacity during their respective three-year terms. They are also expected to retain their private and public sector positions while appointed. They will meet quarterly during their terms.

 

Aside from his roles at Amway and through his foundations, Mr. and Mrs. DeVos together have also founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This is a charter school that the couple started back in 2010 at the Grand Rapids airport. It was created as a way to help prepare interested students for different aviation careers. DeVos himself is licensed to fly jets, engine planes and helicopters. Because of this and his long-time love of aviation, he will be a great asset for the FAA. Learn more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos

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