Betsy and Dick DeVos attract a lot of attention for their philanthropy. Although some people admire and applaud them for their generous acts, others criticize them for their political giving. Unknown to most people is the fact that Dick and Betsy DeVos’ political giving is just pocket change in comparison to their charitable contributions. Their lifetime contributions in charity amount to $139million.
Betsy DeVos, who is a Nominee in the U.S. Secretary post is under scrutiny for her contributions to the Republicans candidates. Her cause for contributing to certain types of schools is also under scrutiny before the Wednesday confirmation hearings. As a result, Dick and Betsy DeVos have had to lift the veil about their philanthropic giving via their foundation. Reports from Dick and Betsy’s Foundation website indicate that in 2015 the couple gave $11.6 in charity. The amount is more than double what Betsy said they gave in 5 years for campaign donations.
Dick and Betsy both come from high profile families that were involved in Republican giving for many decades. Dick’s dad Rich DeVos and his four grown kids gave $104million in charitable donations in 2015, making Forbes rank the family 24th in America’s Top Givers list. Moreover, the extended DeVos family is also reported to have given $1.33 billion in their lifetime. At the same time, Betsy’s father Edgar Prince was an influential industrialist in Holland, and his family was equally known for political and charitable giving. The above statistics indicate that Dick and Betsy DeVos’ giving is more genetic than showy.
The couple also mostly gives towards education than any other course. In 2015, they gave over $3 million to education related courses, and that was more than 26% of their donations that year. The couple’s foundation also gave $357,000 to the groups that work towards education reform. Dick DeVos said that they intend to see the ailing education system improve from its current status. Dick’s further posited that it became clear to the couple that the current education system was not fulfilling the American dream. In an interview, Dick said that the kids, who came from the wrong Zip codes were denied a right to attain the American dream by the public school system. However, Dick said that he was not criticizing the people who work in the public school system, but was addressing the system as a whole. He said the teachers and administrators there were hard workers but Dick desired to offer a better system that would produce more productive kids.
Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation
Dick and Betsy DeVos say that the foundation is based on what their parents taught them; to be faithful stewards of what they had. They were taught to support organizations and programs that focus on education, community, leadership, and justice.