Dick DeVos:A Generous Philanthropist

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has raised more than $10 million more than its original fundraising goal of $125 million for its planned expansion project. Instead of ending the campaign, the Kennedy Center has increased its fundraising goal by $50 million. Over the past two years the design has changed and design and construction costs are now $19.5 million. The cost will be covered through donations. One major donor gave $50 million, one gave $20 million, two donors gave $10 million, 8 donors gave $5 million each and 12 other donors gave $1 million apiece. The center is scheduled to reopen in 2018.

 

Generous philanthropist Dick DeVos gave a million dollars to the project through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The son of the co-founder of Amway, Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr. is an entrepreneur, businessman and author. He has donated over $135 million to charitable causes during his life time. The Grand Rapids, Michigan native has focused the majority of charitable giving on artistic, civic, community, educational, free-market economic and religious organizations. In 2010 DeVos gave the Kennedy Center Institute of Arts Management over $22 million.

 

Education is an area about which Dick DeVos is very passionate. A qualified helicopter and jet pilot, in 2010 he opened the first aviation public charter high school in the United States. It is called West Michigan Aviation Academy. The public school, which is located on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport grounds, weaves aviation into its basic curriculum and is tuition-free open to all students in the West Michigan community. Through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, he has given generously to a wide range of educational institutions. DeVos started the Education Freedom Fund which has provided over 4,000 underprivileged children in Michigan with scholarships.

 

Dick DeVos has held leadership positions in several Grand Rapids area organizations involved in regional health care improvements and downtown revitalization. He’s helped raise $130 million for a local heart hospital and $90 million for a medical school. He also helped to raise $212 million for the convention center, $75 million for downtown arena and $30 million the downtown market. At its annual gathering celebrating philanthropy, the Spectrum Health Foundation gave Dick DeVos its Art of Giving Award in recognition of his continued generosity in supporting charitable causes and organizations. That’s just one of the many awards he has received.

 

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

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