Dick DeVos Helped to Shape Grand Rapids Through Policy and Philanthropy

Dick DeVos has been instrumental in keeping Grand Rapids a great place to live. The former Amway CEO has used his love for the city, and his understanding of what can make it great, to keep it one of the premiere cities in Michigan and the country.


In 1991 there was a plan in Grand Rapids to build a convention center and sports arena north of downtown Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos was very opposed to his idea and he did not stay silent about his doubts.


DeVos saw what happened to Detroit and he believed that the construction of the Palace at Auburn Hills and the Silverdome were a big part of that. He did not want this to happen to Grand Rapids.


Fortunately, the new arena was never constructed. Additionally, these events led to the formation of Grand Action. This group, which was composed of area business leaders, became the driving force behind the eventual evolution of the city of Grand Rapids. They are very much responsible for the current Grand Rapids skyline.


This event was one of many situations in which Dick DeVos, and the DeVos family, attempted to effect positive change in policy at the local and federal level. These major GOP donors have been integral in changing laws and policies in order to improve life for the citizens.


An example of Dick DeVos’ hard work is seen in the implementation of a 2012 law which made Michigan a “Right to Work” state. Dick’s wife, Betsy, has also effected change in the country. Betsy, the current U.S Secretary of Education, has long championed charter schools to improve education on both the state and federal levels.


DIck DeVos and his family do not only effect change through legislation. They also provide aid for people through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Their reports indicate that in the last 3 decades the foundation has given $138 million dollars to various causes including; healthcare, human services, churches, education, and the arts.


Dick DeVos, the former CEO of Amway, had a very big role in turning the city of Grand Rapids into what it is today through his policy proposals and philanthropy. He opposed measures that he felt would be harmful to the city and helped to develop and implement ideas that have a high likelihood of bringing success.


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