Dick DeVos: A Billionaire With a Heart For Education and For His Hometown of Grand RapidsMay 24, 2019 - Author: steph
Dick DeVos is a man on fire. That is to say, he has a lot of passions in his life. These would include such things as preserving the economy of his hometown and for helping children of all ages and financial levels have a better start through a solid education of their own parents choosing. He is thoroughly against Uncle Sam dictating where their parents can send them their kids to school. Of course, this all begs the question: where did the genesis of his social activism start?
The answer to that question is that it probably started as early as 1991. It was during that time that Grand Rapids was going through some serious growing pains, and there was plan that was publicly floated by some local lawmakers to build a multi-purpose stadium in a Grand Rapids suburb. Dick and his wife Betsy immediately realized this was a terrible idea. You see, Detroit built some stadiums in their suburbs as well and it had a very negative impact on their downtown. “The lesson was not lost on us,” Dick said regarding Detroit’s unfortunate decision. Thus, they immediately picked up the phone and lobbying against that same decision from happening in their hometown of Grand Rapids. The effects of this decision were truly a thing of beauty.
This initial fight to help their town of Grand Rapids led to the construction of such notable landmarks as the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Van Andel Arena, the Grand Rapids City Market and they even had a hand in educating future generations of Michigan doctors with their hefty donation to the medical school affiliated with Michigan State. If this alone was the only contribution they had made, it would have been significant. However, they have also been responsible for changing the debate about education in this country. Dick and his wife Betsy have a strong desire to have an “honest conversation” about the direction that education has been taking in this country. Moreover, Dick has decided to put his money where his mouth is.
Indeed, perhaps one of the most impressive things about Dick DeVos would have to be the fact that he was able to combine his love for education with his passion for the field of aviation into one main objective. That’s right, Dick DeVos actually founded an aviation-based charter school right at the Gerald Ford Airport in Grand Rapids. The DeVoses have not only helped to educate an entirely new generation of doctors, but they are also going to educate some new Michigan pilots as well. The future continues to be bright for this Michigan political power couple.
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