In West Michigan, the clothes one wears or the type of cars that they drive does not define social clout. Social influence is defined by the much you give. I believe that the DeVos family name, together with families like Van Andel and Meijer, are on the peak of the social clout in West Michigan. DeVos family includes Rich and Hellen, Dick and Betsy, Cheri, Dan and Pamela as well as Doug and Maria. Rich is the eldest in the family. He is the co-founder of the popular Amway.
The DeVos family has been making massive contributions to conservative political candidates. For the first time, they shared information about their donations to different causes with Forbes. Their lifetime giving amounted to nearly $1.2 billion, ranking them 20th on Forbes list of annual top 50 givers. The Grand Rapid’s Press and Mlive used 2013 IRS to compile a record of donations. They came up with a total of $90.9 million for 2013 and $94 million for 2014. I think that Forbes Magazine did not reveal these figures.
The Devos family has five foundations, which work together through their giving projects. These foundations are Richard and Hellen DeVos Foundation, Daniel and Pamela DeVos Foundation, Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, CDV5 (Cheri DeVos) Foundation and lastly, Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation. Some of the beneficiaries are Grand Rapids Public Schools ($2.6 million), Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park ($1.232 million), Gerald R. Ford Foundation ($1.362 million) and Degage ministries among others.
It my belief that the family’s fame comes from their extensive network given that they have served on the boards of renowned non-profit companies across the country. They are the National Constitutional Center, the Kennedy Center board, Whiney Museum of American Art and Art Van Sports Complex. Rich DeVos, named by Forbes as the richest in the family, has been greatly influenced by friends such as Bill Seidman. His accounting company served Amway in the beginning. Bill was also the Founding Chairman of board of trustees of GVSU. This information was originally mentioned on MLive.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos attended Forest Hills public schools and Northwood University. Together with his wife Betsy, Dick launched their Foundation, Dick and Betsy Foundation, in 1989. In 1974, Dick began his career at Amway Corporation. Later, he became the vice president leading the firm’s expansion into 18 countries. In 1991, he served as the CEO and president of the Orlando Magic basketball franchise. Two years later, he returned to Amway to work as the president. Dick is a co-chair of Grand Action. He is a Board Member of RDV Corporation, Spectrum Health System, Willow Greek Association, the West Michigan Aviation Academy and Regional Air Alliance of the West Michigan. This information was originally reported on DBDV Foundation.