Dick DeVos: The Road to Philanthropy and Educational Reforms

Dick DeVos‘ name resonates well among the wealthy philanthropic circles and in the hearts of every basketball player with the privilege of wearing the Orlando Magic Jersey. At heart, he is a giver and a revolutionary, which explains his strong vision of reforming education for the benefit of the younger generation.

 

With his wife Betsy DeVos, Dick pioneered a number of movements that helped reform the state of education in the American States. This philanthropic spirit started way back in the 90s when Dick and her spouse visited the Porters House Christian School. While there, they saw firsthand what it meant to put a child to school—actually, any school since low-income families have no choice where they get education. Dick and his wife made a decision to start providing scholarship funding to parents whose children attended the Porters House Christian School so they could access the education they deserved.

 

From that moment the DeVos made a realization—there was a need for parents to have the choice to educate their children in the schools they wanted. To get the ball rolling, Dick started by vying to chair the State Board of Education in Michigan which he won in 1990. His wife also took action by starting a foundation that provided additional scholarships to low-income families. This truly changed things, but the real change was not yet realized, so they did more.

 

Using his political power, Dick DeVos passed the charter school bill in 1993 which was aimed at promoting educational choice to low-income families. In 2000, the DeVos proceeded to challenge the state constitution into allowing tax credit vouchers and scholarships. When this effort failed, they surged forward by forming another political organization dubbed, the Great Lakes Education. This organization championed the growth of charter schools all over Michigan. Between the years of 2001 and 2002, their efforts finally bore the fruits they wanted and decided to address the educational choice problem on a national level.

 

This is how they joined the American Federation for Children through which they pushed their agenda for educational choice to various states. Florida was the first to pick up and has successfully seen 50,000 students going to the schools they have always wanted. Soon after, Louisiana and Indiana picked up and have passed programs that promote educational choice for students from underprivileged families. And the DeVos are still continuing with the spirit—until the whole America sees the need for equal educational opportunities to every American child.

 

 

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