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For those who know the DeVos family, it’s no surprise to hear that the Devos Family Foundation has surpassed $139 million in charitable giving. The foundation has always helped with educational interests and community healthcare needs in West Michigan, but the foundation has always helped with education centers in other states. Dick DeVos is one of the board members on the foundation, as well as his wife Betsy DeVos. You may know her as the 11th US Education Secretary.


When you think of the DeVos family, you probably think of Amway. Richard DeVos co-founded Amway in the 1970s. His son Richard DeVos Jr., or Dick Devos, has always worked his father’s company as well as delve into his own project. He is well known for helping Grand Rapids get on the map in Michigan, however. One of the main problems for the DeVos family has been political leanings, as many see them as a Republican family. However, if you look closely at DeVos, you’ll see that much of their charitable giving is towards eco-friendly, family-conscious organizations.


Dick DeVos has always been more interested in philanthropy. His work in Grand Rapids has created an economic book for businesses, and the foundation has built multiple areas of the city. For example, the DeVos Performance Hall and DeVos Place Convention Center are two areas that have helped the city grow.


In addition to his work in downtown, many know DeVos for his monumental help with the Grand Rapids local airport. Since the 1900s, the area had an airport, but it was never that busy. In the 1990s after a re-launch, the CEO contacted DeVos because the airport was in trouble. DeVos saw an opportunity to partner up with his strategy by building a convention center in downtown. He wanted to become a conference destination for business travelers.


He worked with the airlines to get more destinations that lined up with these interests. New flights to ORlando, Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver were added to the Grand Rapids airport. By 2018, the airport was seeing 3.26 million passengers in one year. That number wasn’t expected until 2020. It was these types of successful stories that drove many to see Dick DeVos as a prodigy-like businessman.


Now he works with the FAA as part of the Management Advisory Council. The experience of Grand Rapids has helped him show others how airports can be updated and have the latest technology with just a bit of funding. He will be working with the FAA’s council through 2020.


Read to learn more.