Betsy DeVos, the Unique Philanthropist

Elisabeth Dee DeVos is the 11th and current Secretary of Education, United States, besides being a businesswoman. She is a part of the Republican Party and was appointed Secretary of Education by the current President early this year. She was born on 8th January 1958 in Michigan and is married to fellow philanthropist, community activist, and entrepreneur, Dick DeVos. She studied at Holland Christian High School and then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College. Known to many people simply as Betsy DeVos, she has proved to be a proven leader, an advocate and a disruptor. She is a previous chairman of The Windquest Group, a company with diversified interests in several products and services. She has been active in politics for over 35 years, getting involved in several leadership roles during campaigns and political meetings. She has worked as the chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party. Her legislative efforts are currently geared towards bettering the education system and making choices available to everyone.


DeVos is known for her support of school choice, charter schools, and school voucher programs. In a past interview, Betsy admitted that her visit to The Potter’s House in Michigan, where she donated over $200 000, sparked her interest in the advocacy for school choice. Betsy is very much involved in her community serving in power as former chair of both the Philanthropy Roundtable and the US Federation for Children board of directors. She has also served on other boards including Art Prize, Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and American Enterprise Institute. DeVos and her husband gave millions of dollars both nationally and in the state of Michigan. She is known to have funded several Republican politicians’ campaigns. Some estimates average the figure at over $44 million in political donations. Betsy DeVos co-chairs the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband.


Their foundation has shown strong support for school choice in Michigan. West Michigan Aviation Academy is an example of schools that the couple’s foundation supports and many other Christian Schools. The DeVos foundation pumps in a significant contribution to the Education Freedom Fund, a program that provides needy children with scholarships for attending private schools. The couple also gave donations worth over $100 000 to Alliance for School Choice which works for hand in hand with the American Federation for Children, where Betsy was the chair. The foundation also supported former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s charity, FEE. Betsy has also extended her philanthropy to Arts. The couple’s foundation donated $250 000 to John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts besides sitting on the board, $400 000 to an art festival started by the couple; ArtPrize Grand Rapids, and $1.8 million to the Xprize Foundation.


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