In the 1970’s Dick Devos learned a valuable lesson about building sports and convention arenas in downtown areas. The Pistons and the Lions both did this in Detroit, in his home state of Michigan. When they left the city for a number of years, it destroyed the economy of the area and left tax payers with a bill they simply couldn’t foot.
Many point to this series of events as one of the catalysts to the poor living conditions that many Detroit natives have suffered over the years. So when a proposition came up to do something similar in Grand Rapids a few years ago he worked with other leaders in the area to stop it. It was shot down in the Republican majority house. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Dick Devos decided that he wanted to build something that would provide actual value to the community. So with his group called Grand Action he devised a plan to build new hospitals and schools along downtown Grand Rapids, changing the skyline forever.
Now, Dick is the head of the board of the FAA which advises on long term policy matters and strategy. He does this in addition to running his company, Windquest, a holding company. Through his business and philanthropy, he has always put the community first.
Dick and Betsy Devos have given over $1 billion in charity to various causes over the years. Education has always been a big priority for them. They have consistently advocated for charter schools. These are publicly funded schools, like traditional schools. However, parents can receive tax vouchers to send their children to the schools of their choice.
This charter school concept has been shot down many times by voters, but the Devos family is not giving up. Now, with Betsy as the Secretary of Education, the couple hope to give power back to the students and parents with regards to education.
The couple gave $90 in 2013 to education, community services, churches, and social programs. This included everything from helping people get basic shelter to getting employment in a short period of time.
Dick has already helped Michigan become a right-to-work state for other industries. With a new aviation charter school in western Michigan already up and running, it is clear that he has no intentions of slowing down his educational aims for his city. Only time will tell, but it appears that he plans to give more than just money to these causes.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.