For the last 30 years, Betsy DeVos has advocated for parents being able to choose where their children will attend school regardless of where they live. In the beginning, Betsy, who has been joined by her husband Dick in the fight, said many believed that it was a good idea for rural children where homeschooling was a popular option. As time passed, she said that more legislators across the nation had to admit that inner-city schools were failing according to an interview published by Philanthropy Roundtable.
While Dick DeVos helped spread the message when he ran for the state board of education and as Michigan’s governor, Betsy says their interest really ignited the first time that they visited Potter’s House Christian School. It was then that she realized that not all parents were lucky enough to get to choose where their children go to school. Today, this program teaches 580 children on two campuses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. These children come from 30 different nationalities. As the family became more involved with the school, they realized that school vouchers were the way to go. Each year, their foundation helps to fund this school along with giving scholarships to needy families.
As the couple became more involved in the education movement, Dick continued to be active in flying helicopters and airplanes. One day, his wife asked him why he did not combine his two interests. That was the humble beginning of Western Aviation School operating at the Grand Rapid’s airport. This school has even been instrumental in placing students in NASA’s prestigious education program.
Dick is the son of Amway’s founder Richard DeVos who chose to name his company Amway based on America’s way. The couple operate the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation that gives money to worthwhile causes in Michigan. While the foundation works to be the catalyst for school reform, just like Richard, the couple’s foundation supports many causes. One of those is justice where they help to free oppressed people globally. Aft movements are also very dear to the couple’s heart where they work to support Art Walk in Grand Rapids each year. Additionally, the couple is instrumental in trying to improve the economy in Michigan.