Betsy DeVos has been actively involved in politics, business, and philanthropy right from her youthful days. After sharpening her political skills while still in her undergraduate school at Calvin College, she went on to flex her political muscle after college by actively taking part in Republican Party politics. Betsy’s first significant political role came in 1976 as a volunteer voter mobilizer for the then president, Gerald R. Ford. In the 90s, Betsy chaired the Republican Party’s branch in Michigan, her native state, and as a committee member for the party’s national committee. For her entrepreneurial and philanthropic life, Betsy mostly partners with his husband, Dick DeVos. The couple started Windquest Group in 1989, with Betsy serving as its chairperson for several years. Still, in 1989, the two set up the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Since then, the foundation has been supporting philanthropic programs in education and arts, among several other sectors of the society. Read more news on Los Angeles Times.
During a visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dick and Betsy had a chance to visit Potter’s House Christian School, a school that mostly admits students from underprivileged families within Grand Rapids. The couple spent time with parents in the school, getting first-hand information on what the parents go through in trying to secure a good education for their kids. After understanding the struggle involved, the couple got the urge to do something for the school in an attempt to save the situation. After making several other visits, they discovered individual students who were doing exemplarily well in their studies but whose parents were struggling to maintain them in school. Betsy and Dick started supporting the students, and that became the beginning of a DeVos sponsorship program in the school that runs up to today. In a different philanthropic work in Grand Rapids, the DeVos couple established an aviation charter high school, West Michigan Aviation Academy. The schools enroll kids from low-income families and expose them to basic aviation, with the aim of providing a stepping stone for them to pursue careers in the field in future. Students who graduate from the school have gone ahead to become pilots, airport administrators, and aeronautical engineers.
Betsy DeVos has previously been involved as a board member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and with American Federation for Children as a chairperson. Through the latter organization, she has been on the front line in the push for reforms in the American education sector. Betsy is a firm believer in an education system that gives parents the freedom of taking charge of their kids’ education, as opposed to tying kids to schools within their zip code that probably fall short of their liking. To this end, Betsy successfully helped millions of kids to join schools chosen for them by their parents. She has also previously facilitated mentorship programs at Kids Hope USA.
Read more about their foundation at dbdvfoundation.org.