The Career And Philanthropy Of Entrepreneur Dick DeVos
In order to answer speculation about how much charitable giving he and his family have done, Dick DeVos recently revealed that he and his wife have given almost $139 million away. Various charities have been the beneficiaries of this philanthropy with quite a bit of it going to education, leadership, arts, community building, and religious causes. In just 2015 he said they gave $11.6 million to a number of charities. Adding in the what the rest of his extended family has given, the DeVos’ gave away $104 million in 2015 which placed them near the top of Forbe’s annual “America’s Top Givers” compilation.
Education is the most important cause for Dick DeVos which is why about 25% of what they gave away to charities was for educational causes in 2015. Dick has said that there are too many public schools in the United States who are failing children, primarily in zip codes that have a lot of low-income parents. This is inherently unfair and Dick DeVos argues that educational reforms such as vouchers and charter schools are the answer to this state of affairs.
Another priority is the arts which received about 20% of the money his family gave away in 2015. This was on top of the $22 million they donated to found the DeVos Institute of Arts Management which is located at the University of Maryland. This institute is designed to provide tomorrow’s business leaders in the arts community with the skills and knowledge needed to properly run a nonprofit arts institution.
Dick DeVos’ father is a co-founder of Amway which is a global multi-level marketing company. Dick was involved in Amway even at an early age. He attended Northwood University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He attended Harvard Business School as well Wharton School but didn’t graduate as he left these programs to work at Amway. He was very successful at Amway, especially when he was named a Vice President at the firm. He led the company’s efforts to expand internationally which resulted in the company’s international sales going from 5% of revenue to more than 50% in just six years time.
In 1991 Dick DeVos was named the CEO and President of the Orlando Magic NBA franchise after the team was purchased by his father. Also around this time he and his wife, Betsy, co-founded The Windquest Group. The Windquest Group, which he still heads, is a company that invests in green technology and industry. One of their main products is The Green Machine which is distributed by his company. This technology uses the waste heat created in the manufacturing process by converting it into usable energy that can provide electrical power.