Dick and Betsy DeVos both have definitely come from families that taught them the value of going the extra mile. For a number of years, they likely thought they would be an island to themselves. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately for the people of their hometown of Grand Rapids), that all changed when a plan was floated publicly to build a multi-purpose sports arena in a suburb just outside of town. Even back in 1991, Dick and Betsy were no fools. They saw the economic problems such a deal caused neighboring Detroit when they build the stadium for the Lions in Pontiac and the arena for the Piston in Auburn Hills. Needless to say, they didn’t want to see the same economic issues happen to Grand Rapids, so even though Dick was on his way to becoming the CEO of his father’s Amway Corporation, he and his wife picked up the phone and started calling in some favors and working against the idea as hard as they could.
To make a long story short, the plan worked and it has been largely credited with an immense change in the grand rapids skyline. Moreover, the DeVoses’ work against this original plan also led to the formation of Grand Action, which is a local political action committee that has been responsible for the construction of many new and important local landmarks. Buildings such as the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Van Andel Arena, the Michigan State University medical school and the Grand Rapids City Market were all spawned out of this early effort by Dick and Betsy.
Of course, the fact that Dick and his wife now work hard to change institutions and national policy is nothing new today. This first foray into political activism has now led to Dick fighting against the fact that Michigan was an organized labor state to one where it is now right-to-work instead. Moreover, Betsy became so well-known for her fight for school choice that she was actually appointed to become President Donald Trump’s education secretary.
Of course, this political power couple has done a whole lot more than just being social activists for school choice and right-to-work opportunities. They also have long distinguished themselves as being GOP mega donors. Dick and Betsy made a $12.5 million donation towards the construction of a Children’s Health Hospital in the Spectrum Health System. Dick also was one of the main founders of an aviation charter high school based at the Grand Rapids Airport.
Thus, as you can see Dick DeVos and his wife have proven time and again that they are an asset for the community of Grand Rapids. When you consider that Dick’s wife Betsy is now representing the citizens of this whole country, we are sure to see the influence of this power couple on a national scale and not just in Michigan!
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