The state of Michigan has been beholden to more than a couple of serious changes over the past several decades. From the rise of the auto industry to the corresponding plummet, leaving Detroit in shambles, things have always seemed to be in flux. However, throughout this change, there has been a few constants and Michigan itself seems to be on the rise once again. A huge reason for the state of Michigan as it stands today has to do with the work being done by Dick and Betsy DeVos, two prominent Republicans who have become something of a powerhouse over the years. While Betsy DeVos is stealing headlines as the Secretary of Education for Donald Trump, our focus today will be on the work of Dick DeVos.
Let’s flashback in time to 1991. Rumors on the streets of Grand Rapids were pointing toward a new convention center being installed just north of downtown. While sporting arenas can bring big money to a city, this particular sports convention center drew ire from some high-level members of the business sector of Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos, CEO of Amway, knew that sports arena could end up being disastrous for the city. At the time, DeVos pointed to what happened in Detroit after the Lions left the Pontiac Silverdome and the Pistons left the Palace of Auburn Hills. These two professional athletics facilities ended up becoming millstones around the neck of the taxpayer. DeVos didn’t want a repeat occurrence to happen in Grand Rapids.
In order to fight for the future of Grand Rapids, Dick DeVos would band together with other business leaders in order to form the Grand Action group. Grand Action would band together in order to come up with some of the most important business introductions to the city of Grand Rapids, dramatically altering the very skyline of the city over the years. Among their many additions to the city are the DeVos Performance Hall, the Grand Rapids City Market, and the Van Andel Arena. These businesses are largely considered as the primary instigators of an evolving Grand Rapids skyline.
While Dick DeVos directly impacted the health of Grand Rapids through his own business ventures, he also made sure to stay active outside of the lines as well. From the year 1989 all the way until 2015, the DeVos Family Foundation would give away almost $139 million. These donations were handed out to prominent programs in both art, culture, health, and religious arenas. One of their leading donations went toward helping to build a children’s hospital for the Spectrum Health System. The small children’s hospital would be named after Dick’s own mother, Helen. DeVos is proud of the fact that the hospital allows for families to stick together and avoid taking off work in order to visit hospitals that are farther away.
Dick and Betsy DeVos are likely to be in the headlines for a variety of different reasons over the years, particularly with Betsy serving in such an iconic Presidential administration.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.
Posted in: Education