Dick Devos and his wife Betsy are from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are known as the wallet of Western Michigan. The Devos got this title due to charitable contributions reaching close to $139 million dollars in a 16 year span. The charitable contributions that were made were towards organizations that has to do with Education reform and scholarships for private schools. Dick also donated to leadership programs, arts and culture, health and human services, and churches. There were political donations as well. The spending of half the Devos family’s fortune estimated at $5.2 billion has gone towards the priority of improving education.
26 percent of the charitable donations in 2015 were educational causes. Dick feels that the children that grow up in the neighborhoods less fortunate, that they are denied the education to access the American Dream. He has felt that the system is a one-size-fits-all when it comes to the public education platform. He feels that charter schools and vouchers addresses this. Dick has also made a considerably large donation towards the construction of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids.
Dick feels that education should be a priority and that parents as well as students should have a choice when it comes to education. Dick and his wife Betsy support Education reform. They know there are a lot of compassionate teachers and educators out there. They feel like they would work well with a education system with choices. Dick founded an aviation charter high school located at the Grand Rapids International Airport. This charter school has a third of its students classified as economically disadvantaged. Forty percent of the students are minorities and some travel at least an hour to get to the school. The graduation rate of this school is around eighty-six percent. This school’s graduates had at least 15 licensed pilots. The school teaches the students subjects they wouldn’t get in a public school such as, aeronautical engineering and robotics. The students are not only Grand Rapids residences, they also come from seven of the surrounding counties. Dick insists that the bulk of the donations are aimed to help people directly and with the vouchers for private schools in other states and charter school the donations are helping the people directly.