Many people know that Dick DeVos and his family have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable organizations. Not many people realize that they ranked number 24 on Forbes’ “America’s Top Givers” list. It is important to highlight Dick DeVos’s philanthropic approach to creating a better world. He truly believes that it is more important to share his wealth and use his notoriety to advocate for those in need rather than to flaunt it for show. He also believes in the importance of giving in such a manner that people benefit directly. He strives to separate his spirit of giving from political advancements.
Dick explains that their primary focus of giving is aiding in the improvement of the American education system. He is passionate about bringing education into the public light as a civil rights issue. Dick acknowledges that the need for improvement stems from systemic issues and lack of funding, rather than deficiencies among employees and administrators in education. He understands that the source of the problem is an approach to education that assumes all students have the same needs and need the same services. He therefore aims to ensure that all children have equal access to the quality of education they need to pursue their dreams.
In addition to contributing generously to monetary need, Dick also participates in action-oriented philanthropy. He and his family founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. He works to promote the development of STEM education. Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of this school is that a large portion of the students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The school focuses not just on increasing test scores, but also on helping students develop positive attitudes towards education and pride in the impact they are making on their own lives and on the world.
Dick DeVos’s philanthropic philosophy extends deep into his personal life. He publicly acknowledges the success of students of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, and speaks about them with pride, referring to them as “our kids.” He openly demonstrates his support for a wide variety issues, events, people, and businesses all over Michigan. He has stablished himself as a leader who is strong in community values, and people of the community respond with resounding gratitude.