The spotlight on the DeVos’ charitable characteristic has always focused on their political donations. However, the recent report reveals that their political donations do not compare to their other philanthropic initiatives. The couple has given about $5.3 million in campaign donations over the past five years. Compared to the $139 million donated to charities throughout their lifetimes, their political donations do not even scratch the extent of their philanthropic work.
The DeVos are very vocal about the deteriorating state of education in the U.S. Consequently, most of their donations have been directed to the education sector. For instance, about 26% (about $3 million) of the $11.6 million they donated in 2015 went to education organizations and charities. Additionally, 3% (about $357,000) of this money was donated to organizations that advocate for education reforms. However, the DeVos also contributed towards other causes including health, art, nutrition, and religion, among others.
The extent of the DeVos philanthropic initiatives is even more astounding when the whole DeVos family comes into the picture. Dick DeVos’ father, Rich DeVos, is also known to be a generous donor to political as well as charitable causes; together with his four children, Rich DeVos donated about $104 million to several charities in 2015. To date, the family has donated about $1.33 billion to charities all over the world, about a quarter of its $5.2 billion fortune. Read more about their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org.
The DeVos have always stirred controversy for their philanthropy initiatives, and 2017 brought this controversy to its peak after Betsy DeVos was nominated and subsequently appointed as the Secretary of Education. Critics lambasted them for their generous donations to the Republican Party. In response, the couple revealed the real extent of their non-political philanthropic initiatives, which total to about $139 million over their lifetimes.
Critics of the DeVos are asking why the couple chose to release the report on their philanthropic initiatives when they did. To them, this move was more of a distraction from the couple’s questionable political donations.
Critics also questioned the goal of the couple’s non-political donations. In particular, they accused the DeVos of trying to profit from the education system that they vehemently advocate. According to the DeVos, charter schools provide quality education and eliminate the shortcomings of the one-size-fits-all education program in public schools. Their critics, on the other hand, argue that charter schools are conduits for siphoning tax dollars from public schools
A Brief Insight into Dick DeVos’ Life
Dick DeVos is described as a loving husband and father of four children. He is also distinguished as the eldest son of billionaire Richard DeVos, and one of the most vocal in the family. Dick DeVos is very active in politics, and particularly right-wing politics; he is yet to hold political office, but he vied for the State of Michigan’s governorship in 2006. In addition to politics, Dick DeVos also helps run the family’s business empire as the president of Amway Corporation in addition to other capacities. Read her interview with Philanthropy Table.