Dick DeVos: A successful businessman through extraordinary giving

The DeVos family, led by Dick and Betsy, are a wonderful example of what can happen when people put their time and money where their beliefs are. The DeVos family recently released their giving numbers as Betsy was going through the confirmation process to be named the U.S. Education Secretary. The grand total for lifetime giving was $139 million for charitable causes. That amount far outweighs what they have given to political campaigns over the years, even though the family does make sizeable donations to political campaigns that all fall within giving guidelines.

 

The DeVos family has not been shy about their belief that the public education in America is not empowering young people to live the American dream. Public schools are plagued with problems and parents have little to no choice as to the school that their children attend. To help in this cause Dick and Nancy firmly support charter schools and school vouchers. That way parents and students alike can have more control over going to a school that will best suit their needs. This is working to give every child the opportunity to get a high quality education. However, this has drawn criticism that the DeVos family disapproves of the people running the public school systems. But in reality they are just seeking to draw attention to the failings of the one-sized fits all mentality of the public school system, not criticizing their employees.

 

Dick DeVos went to work right out of college at the Amway Corporation in 1974. During the next 10 years he rose up through the ranks to become vice president where he oversaw operations in 18 countries. During that time he held multiple roles of increasing responsibility. In 1991 his family acquired the Orlando Magic team and Dick left Amway to become president and CEO for the next three years. However, Dick returned to Amway in 1993 to assume his father’s role as president of the company. During his tenure as president he expanded operations to 50 countries and six continents.

 

In the year 2000 Dick DeVos oversaw a restructuring of Amway into Alticor. This saw the combination of Amway and several subsidiaries into one company. As a result of the mergers it led to many job cuts through buyouts and early retirements. This was a necessary step to bring the company back into profitability. When Dick left Alticor in 2002 the company had reached $4.5 billion in sales. His next role was the Windquest Group’s president. Windquest Group is a privately held investment management company that has holdings in manufacturing, technology, and other sectors. There is no doubt that Dick DeVos has had an impressive career that has been supplemented by his generosity to charitable causes.