President-Elect Donald Trump has been assembling quite a team to head into Washington when he starts his first term in the oval office, and among them is Betsy DeVos, the wife of longtime entrepreneur Dick DeVos. Betsy was chosen in large part because of the work she and Dick did helping to fund private and charter schools, and working to pass school of choice laws.
Betsy is also the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, and through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation the DeVos’s have supported Republican think tanks such as Action Institute and Heritage Foundation. They currently manage an investment firm called The Windquest Group. Read more: How and why the DeVos Family Gives Away Billions
Dick DeVos grew up in a business-minded family, and his father is Richard DeVos Sr., a co-founder of the family company Amway Corporation, and owner of the NBA’s Orlando Magic since 1991. Dick grew up seeing the ins and outs of Amway’s operations, and after getting his degree at Northwood University started working as a company manager.
Eventually he became an executive vice president and took over as CEO when his father stepped down. Under Dick’s leadership, Amway started a parent company called Alticor, and soon they had a presence in over 50 countries across the globe. His final year as CEO saw sales generate around $4.5 billion. Learn more about Dick DeVos: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/dick-devos
Dick started his endeavors to reform education in 1990 when he ran for the Michigan State Board of Education. He only stayed in that office for 2 years, but he began to lead efforts for school of choice laws and voucher programs.
His wife Betsy helped start the family foundation, and soon the Education Freedom Fund started helping underprivileged children afford private schools. In spite of a failed effort to start a state voucher program in the year 2000, the DeVos’s did start bringing in more support for charter schools, and in 2010 they founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick helped fuel a revitalization project in downtown Grand Rapids through Grand Action Committee. He also ran for governor in 2006 when he became unhappy with then Governor Jennifer Granholm’s agenda. He narrowly lost that race, but he began an effort to change state laws on labor, eventually leading to the passing of the 2012 right-to-work law.
Dick and Betsy also donated to the Kennedy Center’s art institute which was shortly thereafter renamed for them. Dick is also the author of Rediscovering American Values, a 1998 New York Times best-seller.