A recent interview I read with education reformer Betsy DeVos in the PhilanthropyRoundtable publication provided me with an insight into the work this well known education reformer undertakes with her husband, Dick DeVos. The name Dick DeVos is well known to those of us who follow closely the work of the AmWay Group, but also those of us who are concerned about the level and standard of education our children are receiving in the 21st century. The DeVos family has always been well known for playing an important part in the philanthropic community in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, but through the work Dick and Betsy have undertaken for education their role has now become a national one; Betsy DeVos explained the role the couple have taken on in education reform has been in place for over 30 years and dates back to a visit to Potter’s House Christian School in Michigan. Dick DeVos has gone so far as to become elected to the State Board of Education in Michigan despite his busy career and family life, which has allowed the couple a glimpse into the inner workings of education departments and how difficult life can be for these professional educators.
Success for Dick DeVos is no longer simply measured in terms of profit margins, but I believe is now measured in the positive effects he and wife Betsy have on the public around them. Dick DeVos has always looked to aid the people of the Grand Rapids, Michigan region through his work with programs such as the regional Air Alliance of West Michigan;Wikipedia reports Dick DeVos headed this air based program in a bid to make sure local residents had access to air travel options when many airlines severed their links with the Grand Rapids region. The interest in air travel and the possibilities it opens up for young people obviously played a part in the establishment of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which I believe highlights the work Dick and Betsy DeVos have completed in changing the way education is explored and delivered in the U.S.