Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr. has been in the news during the last several election cycles due to his work in philanthropy and political activism. In 2012 he made news for helping get Michigan’s right-to-work law passed, and then appeared again in 2016 when his wife Betsy was chosen to be the next Secretary of Education. Dick DeVos is a businessman, civic organizer and a man who strongly promotes free market economics. One way to understand DeVos is to read his book “Rediscovering American Values” which was published in 1998 and provides a little insights into his beliefs.
To Dick DeVos, he believes that America’s freedom is guided by morality and doing what is ethically right and compassionate towards others. He’s certainly a model of compassion as his philanthropic activities were recently reported to have contributed $139 million to their causes. But even more so, his book also equates freedom with personal responsibility and how it’s important to be involved with your community and be a part of change when its necessary. This is a big part of why he and Betsy have been highly involved with political action committees and have worked as much from outside as the inside in politics.
Dick DeVos’s primary career accomplishments have been in the multilevel marketing industry and the alternative investment industry. He served as vice president in Amway Corporation, the company his father Richard DeVos Sr. built and introduced the multilevel marketing model that company used in many countries it had never reached before. He eventually became CEO of Amway and built a parent company for it named Alticor, and soon this company started growing sales overseas into billions in revenue. His investments in clean energy have been a staple of his company The Windquest Group which he and Betsy co-founded in 1989. Dick also served as president of the Orlando Magic for a few years after his family bought controlling shares in the franchise.
Dick DeVos’s organizational activities took root when he founded Grand Action Committee. This committee helped bring in athletic and arts venues to downtown Grand Rapids and has been a catalyst for commercial activity in the area. He and his wife started the DeVos Foundation which has been the cornerstone for their education reform activities, scientific research funding, college scholarships and political campaign funding. Dick DeVos has also been a former political candidate who ran in the 2006 governor’s race.
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