Mr. And Mrs. DeVos: Warriors For Their Hometown

The DeVos’ are best known for their stances on education and love for charter schools and voucher systems. Back in 1991, Dick was working his way up the ladder of his family’s Amway company. He was on the fast track to becoming the next CEO. However, that took a backseat for a while when he found there were plans in the works for a new sports and convention center being built in the downtown area of Grand Rapids. He was not a big fan of this idea and thought it would be detrimental for the city.

 

Plans To Stop Building

 

In order to work towards stopping the construction of the new convention and sports center, he brought together other prominent businessmen from the area to form the Grand Action Group. Some of these business people included ones behind the construction of other big buildings in the areas such as the medical school, the city market and another convention center and performance hall.

 

Two Heirs To Family Fortunes

 

Both Betsy and Dick come from families with a lot of money. However, they didn’t decide to live on their inheritances. They chose to use the money to fight for matters that are important to them both. They are both major donors to the Republican Party and both have a love for education in the United States. They have spent a majority of their adult lives fighting for changes in policies and institutions. Their money and influences have affected and created changes in state laws regarding both labor and education.

 

The couple has also donated millions towards the construction of the children’s hospital which was opened in 2006. They were passionate about this hospital opening because it gave families a way to get their children the help they need without having to make the trip out of the city or state in order to get it.

 

How Mr. DeVos Put The Grand Rapids Airport On The Map

 

Before Dick put in the work, the Grand Rapids Airport was not much in the way of being popular. His work on the airport started many years ago with a single phone call to the AirTran Airways CEO. He had contacted him in order to see if they could work together in order to improve air travel within Western Michigan. Most people have to wait a long time in order to get time with the CEO. However, Dick had a little more on his side in getting a quick conversation because his family owns the Orlando Magic.

 

His conversation with CEO turned into a set-up for a meeting to discuss matters more. DeVos was able to convince him to run nonstop air flights from the Gerald Ford International Airport. Later, Dick got even luckier. Just months after this happened, the company had been bought out by Southwest. This is the exact airline company that he was asked to bring to his hometown airport in the beginning. He then worked towards bringing Southwest to the Grand Rapids airport and found it to be a successful venture.

 

To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.

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