Everyone in West Michigan knows the family name of DeVos. The family has five different organizations that give to charities, but Dick DeVos – with his wife Betsy – have control of one of the organizations. The rest of the family holds the other four.
This particular DeVos child donates to professional arts administrators and other educational charities. However, they are large contributors to The Windquest Group (as the foundation’s about page mentions), and I know Dick particularly has a vested interest in the management firm.
To understand why the DeVos family can give so much – totaling $90.9 million in 2013 from all branches of the family – it is important to understand the family’s history as I do. Richard DeVos, Dick’s father, co-founded the Amway corporation. Through the time spent there, DeVos gained and kept quite a large fortune. Dick worked at Amway from 1974 to 1986, and then went on to become CEO and president of the National Basketball Associations’ Orlando Magic in 1991. Take a look at DeVos’ resume here or check out his Facebook page to get a better glimpse of his passion for not only making Michigan a better place, but the world.
In 1998, Dick published Rediscovering American Values, a New York Times best selling novel, according to Wikipedia.
However, all DeVos’ funding – even that from Dick and his wife – has three main prongs to it that influence others to give: leverage through peer pressure or via donations from all five family organizations; strategic advice to receiving more money to the institutions the family funds; and extending their influence through their positions.
Through these principles, the DeVos family has been able to show that they are looking out for the West Michigan community. Altogether, over five years, Doug and Maria DeVos – Doug being Dick’s brother – have donated over $2.6 million to the public schools in Grand Rapids, despite none of the DeVos family attending any schools in the area. They’ve supported sports programs, the aviation high school they founded, Christian nonprofits, and most notably the Mel Trotter Ministries. The Degage Ministries have also felt the effects of being supported by this family.
However, their influence comes down to one thing: in West Michigan, status is not determined by clothes or cars, but by how much you donate and where you donate it to. For the DeVos family, they have certainly maintained high social status.
See the full article detailing this family’s giving spirit by clicking on the following link: http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2016/01/devos_family_donations.html#incart_river_home