Had they wanted to, Ms. DeVos’ family could have sent her to the most expensive, exclusive college in the country; they had the resources to do so. She could have spent four years attending parties, spending her parents’ money and taking classes in basket weaving.
Rather, Ms. DeVos attended a small, strict, Christian school called Calvin College a few hours’ drive from her home in Holland, Michigan. She spent her time studying, sleeping in a plain, small, serviceable dorm that housed women exclusively and she graduated with her moral values reinforced rather than abandoned.
In the subsequent years, as a result of her interest in her own children’s’ education, she developed an interest in the education system. In her new home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a local school invited her to visit their establishment to see how they managed education.
After several visits to The Potter’s House, Betsy DeVos was convinced that they were running a successful educational program. Her growing knowledge of the local public school system informed her that the public system was failing parents, children and taxpayers.
She and her husband started donating funds to assist parents to send their children to schools where they were safe and in an environment that cultivated knowledge as well as respectful behavior. Her donations to such schools form almost half of her family’s close to $140 million dollars in donations so far.
Blessed with income sufficient for her family, Betsy DeVos has been able to dedicate her life and time to charitable efforts and endeavors for the public good. One of her most important areas of interest and one into which she has donated years of her life, is education. The Betsy DeVos feels it’s nearly criminal that such a successful country has a failing school system.
Ms. DeVos labored many years to improve the poor education offered in areas in her home state of Michigan such as Grand Rapids and Detroit. She discovered that the institutionalized education structure would not change.
She and her family donated generously to successful Christian schools, enabling hard-working families to continue to pay for the education they needed because of the failure of their local systems to provide a safe, effective environment for learning. DeVos did not set out to support charter schools or alternative schools; she began to support them because the public schools proved impossible to correct.
In addition to her dedication to improving education, Ms. DeVos and her family have donated millions of dollars to other worthy causes including the arts, the Kennedy Center and organizations dedicated to the rights of the individual including the Center for Individual Rights, the Action Institute, the Institute for Justice and the Center for Individual Rights.
A lifetime supporter of infant rights, DeVos has long supported Michigan’s Pregnancy Resource Center, Right to Life Michigan and Baptists for Life.
Until very recently, the extent of the DeVos family philanthropy was unknown. However, because of her nomination as Secretary of Education, Betsy had to divulge much of the generosity she preferred to keep under wraps. Certainly, her experience managing large organizations and many years devoted to educational improvement make her a remarkable choice for her current post.
Visit their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org