There was a lot of news made about Betsy DeVos’s nomination to the US Secretary of Education, but perhaps none more revealing than the announcement that Dick DeVos her husband revealed $139 million that he and Betsy had given over their career. Dick and Betsy’s primary business interest has been The Windquest Group, an investment company they started that includes a lot of energy and technology development companies in its portfolio. Some of the funds they’ve generated from that company have been used to fund various non-profit groups including ArtPrize and the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Dick and Betsy have also given through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation.
Dick DeVos actually began his career in direct selling at the company his father cofounded, Amway Corporation. His father is Richard DeVos Sr., a close friend of former President Gerald Ford and the majority shareholder of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Amway has sold health, cosmetics and household supplies through allowing people to become independent business owners and resell their products to their own customers for profit. Dick DeVos learned a bit of the company’s operations before completing college, and then after doing so he became a lower level manager and worked his way to vice president. He later became CEO when Richard DeVos Sr. retired.
Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy had been active in philanthropy through their lives, but it really started taking off when they started the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1992. The first and foremost organizations they contributed to were private schools including Grand Rapids Christian School and Potter’s House. They started several grant and scholarship funds in partnership with Children’s Scholarship Fund to cover these private schools’ operational costs and help lower income families pay for schooling. They eventually worked with charter school foundations and eventually raised the funds and resources to start their own charter school, The West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick DeVos has also taken his philanthropy to colleges and universities including his alma mater Northwood University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He’s on several development committees including Grand Action, a board of civic leaders who work to bring residential, commercial and entertainment complexes to the city. Dick DeVos was also one of the largest donors to the Kennedy Center’s art institute that was renamed the Dick and Betsy Institute of Arts Management. He’s been active with groups such as Action Institute and Heritage Foundation and also ran for governor in the 2006 election season. While he didn’t succeed in that race, he did continue to work with political activists including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and in 2012 he was part of a group that brought the first right-to-work law to pass.
Bruce Levenson is involved in a lawsuit that he and several other members of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball & Entertainment (AHBE) group have filed against AIG, the NBA team’s former insurance company. Levenson and AHBE had sold the team to Tony Ressler and company back in early 2015, and in the aftermath of the final sale, they decided to buy out then General Manager Danny Ferry’s contract. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, during the buyout talks with Ferry and AHBE, Ferry had filed a claim with AIG that was supposed to cover workplace related actions. AIG however, has not acknowledged the claim filed and will not pay out any compensation to Ferry and AHBE. This issue has been taken to court and Levenson and AHBE are suing for damages against AIG.
Bruce Levenson owned the Atlanta Hawks from 2004 to 2015, and according to ESPN, for several years also owned most of the shares of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. He also founded the media company, Unified Communications Group (UCG) and has also served on the board of several of its subsidiaries. He got his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Washington University, and also a degree in law from American University. He has also been on the board of BIA Digital Partners, a private equity and investment firm.
Levenson also values philanthropy and generosity, and has given back to local non-profit groups in the Washington D.C. area. He also has been actively involved at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, helping to start the “Bringing The Lessons Home” program for teaching young people the importance of the event, and equipping them to teach others about it. Levenson even brought the entire Atlanta Hawks basketball team to the museum in 2014 where his mother-in-law, a survivor of the event told her story of survival to them. Levenson also helped start the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership at the University of Maryland.
Richard DeVos Jr. is the son oldest son of Richard DeVos Sr. Born in 1955, Dick DeVos has had a great career as a business leader having being the president of various companies and helping them grow. His father and Jay Von Andel started Amway Corporation and DeVos began working there in 1974 and held various positions in manufacturing, sales and finance, marketing, and research and development.
Amway Corporation is a network sales company that distributes health and household products as well as personal care products. After working for various departments, he was promoted to be the company’s vice presidents, running its operations in 18 countries. In the year 1989 after leaving Amway, he founded the Windquest Group which deals with the manufacture and marketing of closet and storage organizers.
The DeVos family acquired the Orlando Magic Basketball Franchise and in the year 1991 Dick DeVos was appointed as the manager but all this while he still was a part of the management of Windquest Group. After his father had left the position of president at Amway, Dick DeVos was appointed as the new president as from 1993, and he led the company to great growth helping to increase business and sales especially global sales with the company expanding to more than 50 countries so as to operate in six continents. In the year 2000, he oversaw the restructuring of the company which saw the establishment of Alticor Corporation which was an umbrella company that had Amway Corporation, Access Business Group, and Quixtar Corporation. He retired as the company’s president in the year 2002 so as to focus on his private business, Windquest Group.
Dick has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northwood University and holds various honorary doctorates from Grove City College, Central Michigan University and Northwood University where he is also a distinguished alumnus. He has also held various positions and has been a member of various boards, such as in 1993 he was the co-chair of Educational Freedom Fund which provides scholarships to low-income families from Michigan.
Dick DeVos is a devoted family man, married to Elizabeth Prince and have four children. Together they founded the Dick and DeVos foundation that makes donations to various religious, civic and community organizations amongst others.