Dick DeVos currently serves as the President of the Windquest Group. He previously worked for Amway International and under that leadership, Amway reported its aggregated sales to be over $4 billion. During that time, DeVos singlehandedly assumed all of the responsibilities for the company’s operation in over 50 countries. DeVos also has a wide range of ties within his community. He founded the Education Freedom Fund, which has awarded over $4,000 in scholarships to children who are financially challenged. He also ran for Governor of Michigan in 2006. In saying all of this, I believe that Dick DeVos has accomplished so much as a leader and as a philanthropist.
The Spring 2013 issue of Philanthropy magazine interviewed Betsy DeVos, referring to her as a reformer. She is Dick’s wife and currently serves as the chairman at Windquest, which she founded with Dick in 1989. Philanthropy magazine discussed her views about the educational reform and school choice.
I believe that one thing that Betsy has right is the fact that public schools in the United States are not doing well and that it’s a driving force behind the radical reforms. From what she has stated , many factors influenced her and Dick to become involved in providing a proper education for low-income children. One of these included a trip to the Potter’s House Christian School, where she said that the atmosphere was vibrant with a level of tolerance and curiosity that she had never before seen.
Betsy is concerned not only about reforming schools but also reforming the current system of public schools throughout the U.S. altogether. For example, she stated that she wants to change the current system of having to choose schools based on zip code alone. She said that one thing that is working in that favor is digital education. She sympathizes with and advocates for homeschooling as well, which she says is increasing even in urban areas due to parents being fed up with feeling powerless to do anything about the current education system. She also semi-vouches for charter schools but speaks from experience when she says that one has to be willing to invest the time and resources in getting them off the ground.
At the end, she says that her idea of success is that parents would be able to choose the best education system for their children no matter what. And that they’d be able to choose one that helps their child fulfill their potential at their healthiest level. Amen to that!