For the first time, Dick DeVos is talking about the philanthropy he and his family are doing. After years of asking, Dick DeVos finally gave Forbes magazine the figures they had been trying to get for years. The amount of money the DeVos family has donated to charity places the family 20th on Forbes annual list of the top 50 givers. The family gave $94 million in 2014 alone and a total of almost $1.2 billion in lifetime giving. The family decided to release these figures to Forbes in the hope it would encourage others to be as generous in their giving. A family spokesman stated the Forbes list starts important conversations about giving and how to support others in the community.
The Devos family are well known for their support of conservative issues, and political candidates and the Forbes numbers do not include these figures. The Forbes list accounts only for money that has reached its recipients, how the family distributes their contributions was further examined by MLive and The Grand Rapids Press using 2013 IRS records.
The breakdown shows the DeVoses are big supporters of education, 48 percent of the money donated dedicated to education. Health and community services garnered 27 percent, churches and faith-based organizations received 13 percent, and 12 percent went to arts and culture. The Devos family believe in supporting the local community first. Therefore, 66 percent of their donations stayed in the Grand Rapids area. Donations to conservative think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation are made through the health and community services listings. For a year to year comparison, a family spokesman gave the 2014 numbers to The Press, and they were much the same. Education 45 percent, health and community services 35 percent, arts and culture 15 percent, and 5 percent going to churches and faith-based organizations.
Dick DeVos started his career with Amway Corporation in 1974. He is the oldest son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, Sr. Amway is well-known network sales company that distributes health and household items through a network of dealers who in turn recruit other dealers making it possible for an individual to move up the chain and eventually create a distributorship of their own. During his years at Amway Dick held positions with varying levels of responsibility, being promoted to vice-president of the company’s operations in 18 countries in 1984. In 1989 Dick left Amway and started a new business, The Windquest Group, a company that invested in several different kinds of manufacturing. In 1991 he was made the manager of the Orlando Magic Basketball franchise, while still staying active in the Windquest Group.
Dick DeVos’s interest in politics prompted him to ran for governor in the state of Michigan in 2006, an election he eventually lost to Democrat Jennifer Granholm. Dick and his wife Betsy have four children and reside in Michigan.