Betsy and Dick DeVos are both proud to call Grand Rapids home. The couple grew up in the area and have been involved in the business world for a long time. Dick worked his way up the corporate ladder of Amway. The company was established in 1991 by the grandfather of Dick DeVos.
Founding the Grand Action Group
Many business owners in the area opposed the proposal and formed a group called The Grand Action Group. They tried to stop the development plans. Dick and Betsy are both hard-core Republican supporters who spend a lot of money on politics and education.
Republican Party Donors
Aside from politics, the couple also supports various charitable organizations. In 2006, they gave $12 million to a hospital for children in Michigan. The facility was named after Helen DeVos, Dick’s mother. Spectrum Health System’s board members say the hospital has allowed families to stay home while their kids are getting the medical attention they deserve.
Dick DeVos Helps Put Grand Rapids Airport On The Map
Years ago, Dick called the CEO of AirTran Airways in an attempt to get him to improve the Grand Rapids Airport. The call also helped expand air travel in the area. Dick was able to convince the CEO of Airtran to meet with him and discuss the company’s plans. He was also able to convince the CEO to let Grand Rapids Airport serve as an alternative to Dallas.
For Betsy DeVos, who was Trump’s pick for education secretary, her husband’s involvement in establishing a charter school in western Michigan made her a key player in the president-elect’s team. Dick DeVos is the founder and principal of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school in the western part of the state.
The school’s enrollment has grown from 80 to 600 students in its building. Students who live near the airport often commute to the school by public buses. The school’s name fits Betsy DeVos’ philosophy on education. It also fits her husband’s goal of promoting school choice programs.