Dick DeVos Once Helped Put A Stop To A Plan That Could Have Spelled Financial Disaster For Grand Rapids
Dick DeVos is a businessman, philanthropist, and the partial owner of the NBA team the Orlando Magic. While many other businessmen focus on their own needs, he has made a career out of working for the people of Michigan. He ran to serve as the state’s governor in 2006 but lost to the incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm. DeVos worked with Amway for a lot of his younger life, which was his family’s business, and he became the company’s CEO in 1993. He served in that position for just under a decade before moving on to take care of other business matters.
Before serving as Amway’s CEO, Dick DeVos was faced with a problem in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The city had been eyeing plans to construct a multi-use sports arena and convention center near its downtown section, but he knew this would not go well for anyone. DeVos had insight into the matter because he had been alive during the 1970s when Detroit had made a similar mistake. The city had built a sports arena for its sports teams, but after it was finished, the Detroit Lions and Pistons moved on from the city.
Dick DeVos wasn’t about to let something similar happen in Grand Rapids, and he immediately began to lobby against the idea. He was able to convince many business leaders in the area to come together to form a group that is known as Grand Action. The group has been a positive force for Grand Rapids ever since and is responsible for the construction of multiple buildings in the city that have greatly improved the quality of life for citizens there.
Dick DeVos has also supported the educational system and many other charitable organizations over the years through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation was founded in 1989 and has been responsible for the donation of more than $139 million during the course of its existence. DeVos has also been a mega-donor for the GOP for many years, but his charitable giving far outweighs his political donations.
In 2010, Dick DeVos decided to do something for Grand Rapids that would make many students happy. He founded The West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is a public school that is located inside of the Gerald R. Ford International airport. Every year, hundreds of students do everything they can to be able to attend the school, and there is a public lottery held on a yearly basis that decides which lucky students get to attend there. DeVos is a pilot and aviation enthusiast, himself, and he is very happy to have had the chance to create a school that focuses on aviation. The school started out with under 100 students, and there are now 600 students in attendance.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.