Richard (Dick) DeVos Jr., eldest son of the co-founder of Amway, is a generous philanthropist as well as an entrepreneur. I admire his work history; I respect people who give top effort and hold themselves in high standard. Though he grew up around a business-man for a father, DeVos took nothing for granted. He went to work for the family business in 1974, and in 1984 became Vice President. However, he did not settle into the comfort of this role. He followed an entrepreneurial inspiration and started his own business. For several years, he worked on his personal project, the Windquest Group. He returned to Amway to succeed his father as President of the company. While he was president, the company re-structured and also grew to hold operations on six continents.
The best case for a successful entrepreneur is that they will also have a giving nature. When I study leaders in business in hopes of modeling after them, I look for those who could be considered generous. Dick DeVos is certainly falls into this category. Just how generous is he? Let’s look at the numbers. Earlier this year, Dick and his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) DeVos revealed that they had given $139 million to charity over the course of their lifetimes. I think that Dick DeVos’ charitable donations give us great information about his character.
One things is clear: Dick DeVos holds education in high regard. For one thing, he is married to the U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. He shares his wife’s passion for education, and has discussed his view that high quality education should be available to all, regardless of physical location. Together, he and his wife founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation to give to the causes they support.
I definitely think that we can look to the way they spend as a reflection of their passions and hopes for the future. Records show that in 2015, for example, 26 percent of the DeVoses’ charitable donations were focused on educational causes that they supported. 21 percent went towards projects with Arts and Culture at the core. The rest of the DeVoses’ gifts are spread among various causes including public policy groups, health focused non-profits, and churches. For example, the well known Willow Creek church in the Chicago area has felt the ripple effects of Dick DeVos’ generosity. In 2013 the church received $1 million from the DeVoses.
I can see that Dick DeVos values education, the arts, community, and churches. He also values hard work. His career and philanthropic track record reflect his values. I, for one, am inspired by his actions!