Betsy DeVos, born as Elisabeth Dee Prince, grew up in Holland, Michigan. DeVos earned a bachelor’s degree at Calvin College which is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is married to Dick DeVos who is the former Chief Executive Officer of Amway. Betsy and Dick also founded a business together in 1989 called the WindQuest Group through which they invest in clean energy, technology, and manufacturing. Betsy DeVos served as the Chairwoman of The Windquest Group until she was named the United State Secretary of Education in 2017.
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Also in 1989, the couple established the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Betsy and Dick established the foundation as a way to give money away to causes that they believe in. The main beneficiaries of their charitable giving are in the fields of education, leadership, arts, community, and justice. In just the year of 2015 they made charitable donations of $11.6 million to various causes. In total since 1989 they have given $139 million in donations through their foundation. Among the recipients of their donations are hospitals, churches, schools, health research, and arts organizations.
In 2004 Betsy DeVos was appointed by President Georg Bush to the Board of Directors for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. While she served she realized that there was a great need for people to operate and raise funds for cultural institutions such as the Kennedy Center. In order to meet this need, Betsy and Dick used the family foundation (dbdvfoundation.org) in order to donate money to establish the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. This program is designed to teach the future leaders of these institutions, including arts managers and boards of directors, the tools and expertise to meet these needs. In 2010 they donated another $22.5 million to the center which was the largest private donation in the history of the Kennedy Center.
Betsy DeVos has also served the community serving on the boards of other nonprofit organizations. Among these she has served as the Chairwoman of the Board for The Philanthropy Roundtable, the Alliance for School Choice, and the American Federation of Children. She has also served on the board of the Foundations for Excellence in Education, ArtPrize, the American Enterprise Institute, and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland which as indicated she and Dick funded for its creation.
One of the schools that DeVos has long contributed funds to is The Potter’s House which is an elementary and middle school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Potter’s House was established in 1981 with a mission to make a difference in the lives of children in the city. Class sizes at the school are kept small and the school provides an education regardless of income level.