I have always had an interest in politics and enjoy looking into the lives of those who may not be as well known in the political arena, but play an important role in changing the political environment around us all. One of those who play an underappreciated role in the political arena I have always been impressed with is Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy, who head their own Foundation; the couple have become well known campaigners across the U.S. for education reform to provide more choice for families no matter what their income level may be. I recently read an interview with Betsy DeVos in the Philosophy Roundtable publication that explained how the role they play as education reformers had altered their approach to politics. Betsy DeVos explained she and her husband now look across party lines to gain as much backing for their reforms as possible. The couple are well known for their backing of conservative causes and candidates, but where education is concerned the couple are now looking for increased success with the help of backers from every area of the political spectrum.
Dick DeVos is a businessperson I have always admired for his commitment to a range of philanthropic causes, including his decision to look to develop his own local area of Grand Rapids, Michigan through his work with the Grand Action Plan group; DeVos has led this group to success in stimulating the economy of Grand Rapids at a time when much of Michigan is stranded in an economic slump. One area that has always impressed me is the commitment made to the arts by Dick DeVos at a time when arts funding across the U.S. is often being reduced; DeVos has developed close links to the Kennedy Center for the Arts and provided funding for an arts management center that now bears his name. Alongside the growth of the economy in Grand Rapids Dick DeVos has backed a series of arts based projects to stimulate the culture of the region to provide a successful future for people in the region and beyond.
Dick DeVos is the son of Amway co-founder, Richard DeVos, Sr. In reading The Family That Gives Together, I have learned that the DeVos family is among some of the most generous contributors of the conservative movement. The DeVos’ join the likes of the Kochs as well as the Bradleys. Whether it be the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works Foundation or the Orlando Magic, I am fairly certain that one or more members of the DeVos family has contributed to their successes. The above mentioned are a small sampling of organizations who have seen benefits which were the result of the millions of dollars from the DeVos family.
While this articles focus is on the DeVos family as a whole, I would like to share some thoughts I have regarding Dick DeVos. The more I read the more interested I became. The welcome message on the dickdevos.com website is not only inspiring, I find it to be relevant to the times we are living in.
Be bold. Take the first step today.Smile. Be humble.
Work hard. Volunteer. Tutor. The important thing is
to make a difference and follow through your commitments.
– Dick DeVos
I would be very skeptical if asked to pick something Dick DeVos would be unsuccessful at. It seems to me that since he was a young boy his path to success was already set into motion. After graduating from public school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dick went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration. His many accomplishments began working in the family business, the Amway Corporation. While he held a variety of positions, he eventually became one of Amway Vice Presidents.
After some years at Amway, Dick DeVos decided to try his hand at President and CEO of a National Basketball organization. There were some who doubted whether someone with his business sense could actually achieve success as head of the Orlando Magic.This venture turned out to be yet another successful accomplishment.Dick DeVos also had a desire to run for governor of Michigan in 2006. While in the end he was defeated by the Democratic Incumbent, Jennifer Granholm, he spent more than $30 million of his own money throughout his campaign.
Dick and Betsy, married 35 years,have 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Dick is the President of the Dick and Betsy DeVoe foundation which has donated thousands of dollars to various causes, including educational, artistic and religious among others.With a license to pilot both helicopters and jet aircraft’s, Dick is a two time National Champion Sailor.
I stated earlier that I found the quote on his homepage of the dickdevos.com website inspirational.I think you will agree that in this case, the inspiration comes from within Dick DeVos himself.
In December, 2015, Chennai, India received it heaviest rainfall in over one hundred years and forced thousands of residents out of their homes. The deluge left more than 250 people dead in an area that is just barely above sea level. While the Indian government has released 9.4 billion rupees ($141 million) for flood relief efforts and subsequent restoration, still much more help is needed.
Hardest hit was the most southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and as waters recede, the possibility of the area becoming a breeding ground for infested water and mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, cholera and skin infections, is of great concern. So QNet, one of Asia’s premiere direct selling leaders and pioneers in e-commerce, has stepped in by contributing generously in the amount of Rs. 75 Lakhs to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The donation was made under the QNet – WE CARE Initiative and was presented at the stellar awards ceremony, ‘Be1forChennai’.
QNet – WE CARE is a CSR initiative of QNet in India. The organization fights for causes that will enhance the lives of underprivileged members of society. The group recently formed a partnership with Lions Club International and donated a kidney dialysis unit at a Bangalore hospital which offers 100 subsidized for beds for patients that otherwise could not afford this treatment. The company actively encourages its employees to involve themselves in helping the needy, most notably in their clean water efforts.
QNet, was founded by Vijay Eswaran and Joseph Bismark in Hong Kong in 1998. They sell a variety of products including nutrition, energy, weight management, home care, and fashion accessories using the direct sell and multi-level marketing model.
Charles Koch, born in 1935, is known primarily for his business and philanthropic pursuits. Charles, along with his brother David Koch, inherited Koch Industries after their father passed away. At one time the company dealt primarily with oil refinery, but has since been expanded to include other fields such as forestry products, fertilizers and many other environmental concerns.
The Kochs are also widely known for their contributions
to the Republican party in general as well as their backing of individual candidates. One such examples is Mitt Romney in the 2012 race against President Obama. After the President defeated Romney, the Kochs reached out through polls to determine where they fell short with voters. They discovered that many people felt Republicans didn’t relate or care about those living in poverty or struggling financially, especially those relying on Welfare benefits.
After this realization, Charles and David Koch decided to start a series of programs to help change the perception many had of Republicans and hopefully pick up more votes along the way. Their main goal was to start a war against poverty. The Kochs have many programs to help spread their message. This has included giving away turkeys, assisting immigrants learn English, helping people learn to save money and stick to a budget with items such as coupons, and giving away free food. The idea is to fight poverty, not only by giving individuals food, but by teaching financial strategies and providing help with education. This, in turn will help people pull themselves out of poverty while hopefully improving the image of the Republican Party. The Kochs also plans to create programs to assist the disabled, homeless and veterans.
Despite the plans launched by Charles and David Koch, some people believe that the Kochs do not truly care about the people they assist, but instead only care about positive publicity for the Republican party. These critics were especially vocal after the Kochs donated water to those affected by a chemical spill. The main critique being that the Kochs support candidates that don’t support environmental movements.
Despite some opposition, the Kochs continue to implement their programs and plan to launch more in the coming year. They deny that they are trying to influence a particular political race. Instead, the goal is to help citizens improve their lives.