Dick DeVos grew up in a household of businessmen and entrepreneurs and eventually became one himself. His father, Richard DeVos, was the co-founder of Amway, and Dick ended up serving as the CEO of the company for almost a decade. He became interested in politics later in his life and ran to serve as governor of Michigan but lost to the incumbent.
Dick DeVos has always been talented, and he studied at Northwood University, where he would eventually receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was also recognized with honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University, Grove City College, and Northwood University. DeVos has been a proponent of educational choice over the years and has also helped to pass legislation in the state of Michigan that helped to offer educational opportunities to students.
Dick DeVos has called Grand Rapids, Michigan his home for a long time and has done a lot to make the city a better place to live. During the 1990s, he was a large part of efforts to shut down an attempt to construct an arena and convention center near the downtown region of the city. While it sounded like a good idea to many people, he knew from experience that it would have been a huge mistake. A similar idea had won approval in Detroit during the 1970s, and the city was left with a big bill once its sports teams, the Lions and Pistons, vacated the city.
Dick DeVos did not want to see the same thing happen in Grand Rapids, and he lobbied heavily against it. During these lobbying efforts, he helped to put together Grand Action, which is a group of business leaders who have since helped to improve the city. The way they have done this is by helping to get many of the city’s most well known buildings constructed. The city now has a separate convention center, performance hall, and arena thanks to Grand Action.
Dick DeVos has also helped Grand Rapids by putting together the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This is a public high school that operates on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The school is so popular today that it holds a public lottery every year to award students a place there. The school operates like a public school, which means tuition is free to students, but Dick DeVos has continued to support it to make it better through countless donations of millions of dollars.
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