Betsy DeVos is one of the most respected women in the American business and philanthropy space. Betsy was born in 1958 to billionaire industrialist Edgar and his wife, Elsa. She went through the prestigious Holland Christian High School. She is an alumnus of Calvin College where she got her undergraduate degree in business administration and political science. Betsy is married to Dick DeVos, and together, they run charities that seek to enable the marginalized and disadvantaged get an equal opportunity at life.
President Donald Trump recognized the influence of Betsy and nominated her as the Secretary of Education. This nomination is large because Betsy has been at the forefront of championing access to wholesome education. Betsy began her career in politics about three decades ago. In 1982 she had the opportunity of serving as a local delegate to the Republican Party. She represented her home state, Michigan. This position propelled her into the Michigan National Committee from 1992 to 1997. She also served thrice as Chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.
With her new role as the Education Secretary, details of her involvement in philanthropy have come to the fore. Betsy together with her husband Dick DeVos are extensively involved in philanthropies across the United States. Over their lifetime, they have cumulatively been able to give out millions of dollars to institutions that seek to provide a conducive, academic environment to the children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Read more about their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org.
The family played a critical role in the establishment of the West Michigan Aviation College, one of the best aviation colleges in its right in Michigan. The institution is housed at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Speaking to Philanthropy Roundtable, Betsy DeVos notes that it is the sight of parents struggling to put their kids through school that triggered her involvement in philanthropies that seek to provide holistic education to students from disadvantaged families.
Betsy DeVos juggles her time between charitable works such as the Potter’s House and Aviation College, and running programs and forums that advocate for the education of choice. Part of her time is also spent in lobbying for resources that run the charities. She is motivated by being the source of holistic solutions in the education sector.
Betsy is always keen on how she engages with advocates of public policies in the education sector. A lot goes into the allocation of personnel, resources and time in the industry.
Education is the power couples’ most important area in their philanthropy works. In the year 2015, the family spent over $3 million from their pockets to fund educational programs. This a 26 percent of what they spent in charities for that year. Speaking to MLive, Dick, Betsy’s husband said that she doesn’t believe that the current education system addresses inequalities between students from marginalized regions. Read her interview with Philanthropy Table.