Dick DeVos founded The Windquest Group back in 1989 along with his wife Betsy, a company that owns a majority of shares in various companies and is based in Grand Rapids, MI. Dick is quite an entrepreneur in his own right having acquired several companies through this firm, and spent time as the CEO of his family’s company prior to that. But he’s also a generous philanthropist who along with his father, Richard DeVos Sr. and his brothers Daniel and Douglas, and sister Cheri have been estimated to have given around $1.2 billion total in their lives to various charities and non-profit groups. He and Betsy have channeled much of their philanthropy through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation.
Dick’s father co-founded the company, Amway Corporation that Dick spent most of his early career working for. Amway is a multilevel marketing company that allows independent business owners to buy their products and resell them. Dick got his bachelor’s and later completed his master’s doctorate at Northwood University, and went to work at Amway as a young manager and later executive. When Richard DeVos Sr stepped down as CEO in 1993, Dick took over for his father and soon opened many new offices overseas. The company made around $4.5 million just in Dick’s last year as CEO alone.
In 1990, Dick decided to help improve state education by winning election to the state Board of Education. But he and Betsy wanted to do more, so through their foundation they started scholarship programs and funds for underprivileged children. They also wanted to help start more private schools and charter schools, so they spearheaded the Great Lakes Education Project and helped start the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010. They also have funded various art museums, churches, community colleges and universities, and many other organizations.
Dick DeVos was part of a group of businessmen at Grand Action Committee tasked with rebuilding and reviving downtown Grand Rapids. Dick also ran for governor in 2006 when he decided he needed to change the course of Michigan away from then governor Jennifer Granholm. He did not win the election, but it did get things started with later legislation, including passing a right-to-work law in 2012. Dick’s wife Betsy was also just recently chosen to be the Secretary of Education by the incoming Donald Trump administration. When he isn’t too busy with the foundation or his business, he’s out piloting aircraft or sailing in the Chicago-Mackinac Race.