Betsy DeVos is an American businesswoman and a renown philanthropist from Michigan. DeVos is also an education activist known for her efforts to promote publicly funded charter schools which are run independently. She serves as the chairperson of Windquest Group, a company she co-founded together with her husband in 1989 and focuses on investing in technology and clean energy. On November 2016, DeVos was named by President-elect Donald Trump as his nominee for secretary of education.
Betsy DeVos philanthropic work is extensive and has been ongoing for decades. She and her husband rank among the most influential funders in recent years, donating millions of dollars to various aspects of the society like leadership institutes, legal groups and much more. Betsy DeVos family has been active in politics for decades, primarily as donors to candidates and the Republican party. In an estimate, in Michigan alone, the family has given out political donations worth $44 million. In 2015, the DeVos family was ranked number 24 on the Forbes list of America’s top givers.
In her philanthropic activities, Betsy DeVos co-chairs “Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation,” a foundation based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The foundation’s activities include support towards school choice in Michigan. Among the schools supported by the Foundation include West Michigan Aviation Academy, a chartered high school founded in 2010 for aviation studies. The foundation also offers funding to the Education Freedom Fund, a fund which provides support to needy students for them to attend private schools. Two private Christians schools under Potter’s House are also included in the DeVos Family Foundation support. Betsy DeVos chairs the American Federation for Children (AFC), an organization which together with Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) are beneficiaries of the DeVos Family Foundation. The FEE giving include school choice support through charter schools.
The Devos Family Foundation does not limit its support to school choice only but also supports healthcare and art. The foundation is a major supporter of ArtPrize, an art contest held in Grand Rapids, Michigan annually. Betsy DeVos also supports pediatric oncology through Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a hospital associated with her mother-in-law. In their activities towards education, Betsy DeVos together with her husband established “Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship.” An annual scholarship at Northwood University awarded to students who obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan in 1958 to Elsa and Edgar Prince. Her father Edgar founded Prince Corporation, an auto parts supplier company based in Michigan. She is married to Dick DeVos, former president of Amway, a direct marketing firm. Devos has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from Calvin College in Michigan.