I stumbled upon news about how Rich DeVos greeted Leslie Tassell, the Lescoa auto parts founder, with an expensive compliment stating that he looked like a million dollars. Tassel ended up contributing a million dollars to a cause that DeVos was at that time supporting. The wealthy people of West Michigan derive social clout from the much they give and not from the clothes or cars they drive. Influence to them is derived from the amount of money a family gives to causes. The DeVos family name gets the pinnacle of the West Michigan’s social clout due to their philanthropy as well as other wealthy families like Meijer and Van Adel. The DeVos have shed the light for the first time that they have donated about $1.2 billion in their lifetime of giving. This earned the family the number 20 spot of the top 50 givers back in 2014 when they gave $94 million. The disclosure was made after years of the magazine prodding the family and the family said it hoped that the disclosure would encourage others to give. The family supports conservative politicians and issues but Forbes did not include such contributions. Other contributions by the family are to institutions that are conservatively aligned like think tanks. I found out that the amounts considered by Forbes were only those that actually reached the recipients.
About the Foundation
The Dick and Betsy Foundation was launched in 1989 to serve as the family’s vehicle for giving following the financial blessing it had received. The foundation is based on the model that was taught by their parents and the two seek to serve in the foundation like faithful stewards.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos is a graduate of the Forest Hills Public Schools and later Northwood University. He started working at Amway Corporation back in 1974 and held various positions. He became the Vice President in 1984 and he lead the expansion in over 18 countries. He became the CEO and President of the Orlando Magic Basketball franchise in 1991. He then returned back to Amway International and became president in 1993 and his stint saw the company record high profits and sales.
He co-chairs the Grand Action that aims at revitalizing the downtown Grand Rapids. He also serves as a board member in Willow Creek, RDV Corporation, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Spectrum Health System, West Michigan Aviation Academy and Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan. He has been a two-time national champion sailor, a qualified helicopter and jet aircraft pilot.