Dick DeVos has had profound impact on the State of Michigan. The elements of his business, political, and philanthropic efforts are particularly easy to see in the Western Michigan region and in the city of Grand Rapids.
– Leadership in Grand Rapids Michigan
In the early 1990’s the City of Grand Rapids made plans for a sports arena and convention complex that would raise the profile of the city and create a business and convention center for Western Michigan. Dick DeVos saw a problem and turned it into an opportunity to reshape the city. Mr. DeVos was well aware of the experience in the Detroit area in which a sports arena located outside of the city became an economic albatross. He urged that the city government reconsider and locate the arena in the heart of Grand Rapids. If in the downtown, DeVos argued, the new arena would be a development hub.
His advice led to the formation of an action group of local business leaders. The city agreed, and it resulted in a dynamic urban business and education hub. The long-term development included the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Place Convention Center, the DeVos Performance Hall, the Grand Rapids City Market, and the Michigan State University medical school.
– Philanthropy in Grand Rapids Michigan
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation reported donations and contributions of $138.7 million in the years of 1989 to 2015. The recipients included leadership programs, arts and culture activities, and organizations, health and human services projects, and religious organizations. The Foundation also supported policy initiatives for education reform including scholarships for private schools.
In Grand Rapids, Dick and Betsy DeVos were lead donors in the construction of a $103 million children’s hospital. The children’s health facility located in the Spectrum Health System was named for Mrs. Helen DeVos; Mrs. DeVos was Dick DeVos’ mother.
– The DeVos Impact
West Michigan Aviation Academy is an example of the efforts, vision, and success of the DeVos team. Betsy and Dick DeVos have translated their love for aviation, educational opportunity, and school choice into a shining example of educational pluralism. The West Michigan Aviation Academy was Dick DeVos’ creation, and Betsy DeVos also supported it with her expertise. Dick DeVos is a pilot and his enthusiasm for piloting as a skill, business asset, and hobby inspired him to create an institution in which children of all ages, races, and economic levels could learn. The school offers aviation training and students can use it to become pilots.
The institution has grown from early student body of 80 members to its present-day enrollment of more than 600 students. Students attend tuition-free and get an intensive level of education from a well-prepared staff of educators and support personnel. The academy operates with a per-student allowance from the state government, and through 2014, also made a three million dollar interest-free loan to expand the school buildings and add equipment.
Dick DeVos story continues. The dynamic couple achievements now includes Ms. DeVos’s role as Secretary of Education. The record of his contributions and impacts offer a view to an even brighter, more involving future in public and civic affairs.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.