Betsy DeVos and her husband Richard “Dick” DeVos, are known for their generous philanthropy. Mrs. DeVos, the Education Secretary for the Trump Administration, has not only given millions toward a number of conservative political initiatives, she has also backed a number of Republican candidates in her state of Michigan.
In 2015, the couple gave out $11 million through their Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The high-profile couple is among the richest in the state. Both come from tremendous wealth that has afforded them a great deal of power.
The couple have been power players in the state of Michigan for many years. Betsy was the Republican Party Chairwoman for over 10 years.
Mrs. DeVos is the daughter of billionaire industrialist Edgar Prince. He was also heavily into conservative politics for many years. Dick and his four siblings are heirs to the massive Amway fortune.
Both Dick and Betsy have spearheaded a number educational causes in the state. They are huge supporters of school vouchers and charter schools. Some of her critics say she is attempting to destroy public education. This is an accusation that Mrs. DeVos denies.
Mrs. DeVos says the over $3 million in educational donations is proof that she is attempting to make education a number one priority in the state.
According to Forbes Magazine, the family’s lifetime of giving exceeds $1.3 billion.
“The current educational system is definitely not fulfilling the dream it was meant to,” DeVos said, in an interview with MLive. “People who don’t live in rich zip codes also have a right to receive a great education.”
Mrs. Betsy DeVos says the overarching goal is to make sure that everyone has access to a good education.
Another criticism of the DeVoses is that the charter schools are built specifically to push their own personal ideological agenda.
Longtime Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer says if anyone takes a look at the DeVoses expenditures, they would see them for what they really are — a con job.
Mrs. DeVos scoffs at the criticism and chalks if up to political jealousy.
“Our goal is to help everyone. We are not working through any political organization. All we want to do is serve the people.”
Another of the couple’s gifts was helping to build the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Named after the family matriarch, the hospital was built to help children suffering from cancer. The doctors recruited are among the best in the country.
The DeVoses say they always enlist the help of their children for inspiration and support. “We often ask for their input. If they tell us we can do more, that’s exactly what we do,” said Mrs. DeVos.
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