Life is good when you are the CEO of your family’s corporation and thus a billionaire in your own right. That is the kind of life that Dick DeVos has lived. Before you jump to conclusions about the man and assume that he has hoarded all of that money and greedily kept it to himself, you ought to know what he and his wife Betsy DeVos have done for their hometown.
The first venture into political and charitable activism for the couple dates back to 1991 when the city council in Grand Rapids, Michigan proposed constructing a multi-sports complex in the city. Now, Betsy and Dick DeVos have been long time residents of Grand Rapids, and they only want what is best for the city. Thus, they felt the need to immediately go out and campaign against the construction of this facility. This might sound odd in a sense because it seems like such a facility would be a positive thing. However, that is not necessarily always the case.
Dick DeVos knew that similar facilities had been built in other cities, and he didn’t want the fate that those cities had suffered through to come to his town. He saw how much those facilities had cost other cities without the return on investment that those cities had hoped for. Thus, Dick didn’t want Grand Rapids to make the same foolish mistakes. He insisted that the people of his city should vote against it.
The campaign to defeat the sports facility was a success, and this propelled Dick DeVos to greater heights politically than he had been to before. He saw that his work really could make a difference, and this encouraged him to continue to fight for the things that he believes in.
Although the family kept the sports facility from becoming a reality, they were not about to leave Grand Rapids without some kind of charitable donation that could help make the place a little bit better. They donated a lot of money to open up new museums, an art center, and many other facilities around town that could help the city to attract more people in earnest to Grand Rapids. They felt that their donations to these projects were actually a lot more helpful to the growth and expansion of Grand Rapids than what the city council had proposed. In this case, it was just a matter of private interests versus public interests, and the private interests knew better in this circumstance.
You had better believe that Dick and Betsy DeVos are highly respected in Grand Rapids for what they have done. It almost doesn’t matter if you agree with Dick politically on virtually anything else, you have to admit that he did something important for Grand Rapids.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.