Betsy DeVos: The Importance of Giving Back

When I typically hear about Betsy DeVos it is in relation to her political accomplishments and views. Betsy DeVos is the United States Secretary of Education. She is the 11th person to hold that role. Mrs. DeVos has been passionate about bringing about education reform since her early college days. She was active in many groups and sound found that she was able to bring about tangible change for education in this country. The amount of charitable giving that Mr. and Mrs. DeVos have been able to accomplish is astounding.


I recently came across an interesting feature on Mrs. DeVos published by Philanthropy Roundtable. The feature focused solely on her philanthropic side. I had not heard much about how incredibly philanthropic the DeVos family is. Betsy and her husband, Dick DeVos, both hold philanthropy as a cornerstone of their family values. However, they typically give back in a quiet manner, avoiding press releases and media. The two have stated that they know with their financial blessings comes an obligation to give back to those in need. Their philanthropic giving stems from a goal to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Both sets of parents were very giving people and always gave to others before allotting to themselves.


The couple founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation to fulfil the goal of following in the footsteps of their parents. The Foundation granted over $10 million in funds in 2015 alone and also pledged an additional $3.2 million in funds.


Many of the organizations that received funding were in line with Betsy DeVos’ passion for education and Christian values. For example, the Foundation donated $150,000 to Success Academy Charter Schools and approved an additional $150,000 in the future. The organization works to provide students with Charter School education options. These are important in low income areas where the district may not have the best education options. The Foundation also granted $100,000 to the Alliance for School Choice, which also seeks to provide additional school options. She donated $50,000 to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a charity founded by Jeb Bush.


One organization that is dear to Dick and Betsy DeVos is the Potter’s House Christian School in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The school seeks to provide a Christian education for students in the area. Many of these students come from low income families that would likely be unable to afford the school’s tuition. Dick and Betsy DeVos provide multiple scholarships for these students and are currently the school’s largest donors. They first came upon the school when searching for school options for their own children. They were incredibly moved at the excellent work Potter’s House was doing on a slim budget and decided to help financially.


For updates, follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.