The people of Grand Rapids, Michigan have been able to count on Dick and Betsy DeVos to protect their community for many years. This commitment was on full display back in 1991 when a group of investors went public with a proposal to build a mega sports and entertainment complex in the city’s downtown area.
Mr. DeVos was working for his family’s Amway Corp at the time and was expected to one day become the CEO. Despite this, DeVos took time out of his schedule to launch a campaign against the building of the sports complex.
DeVos explained to anyone that would listen why he thought the complex was a terrible idea that could bring great harm to the city of Grand Rapids. He cited the example of nearby Detroit. The city of Detroit suffered great harm after the construction of the Palace of Auburn Hills and The Pontiac Silverdome to accommodate the Pistons and Lions respectively. Both teams left Detroit.
Dick DeVos was soon joined in his fight against the arena by a group of area businessmen. The group decided to call themselves Grand Action. Under the leadership of DeVos, Grand Action was not only successful in their opposition to the planned arena but was also responsible for a number of notable constructions that are credited with making the skyline of Grand Rapids more beautiful.
Dick and his wife Betsy, who also has at her disposal the inheritance of a large family fortune, have spent the majority of their lives together fighting to influence policy and institutions in a way that will have a positive effect on the people of Grand Rapids. They have also often extended this interest to Michiganders as a whole.
The couple has fought tirelessly for the right of parents in Michigan to choose the public school that will educate their children. It is the belief of the DeVos’ that all parents should have this right regardless of what they possess financially or where they happen to live.
Betsy DeVos has been an advocate in the state for the expansion of charter schools. Dick contributed to this cause by founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The Academy is a public high school where students can learn to fly while still working toward a diploma.
Betsy DeVos is the current Secretary of Education for the United States and the couple continues to fight, now on a national level, for parents right to school choice.
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