Betsy DeVos and her family are undoubtedly one of America’s most notable and passionate charity givers. She heads the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation, which is known for its outsized contributions to political, educational, social, and economic causes in the U.S and beyond. So far, the foundation has bequeathed more than $140 million to different causes. This earned her a place in Forbes’ 2015 America’s Top Givers list.
What Inspired Betsy to be Philanthropy
Betsy’s late dad Edgar Prince was a renowned industrialist who was known for his charitable giving. Her upbringing made her understand the importance of supporting philanthropic causes. She married into to DeVos family, which is also known for supporting numerous causes. Betsy and her husband founded their foundation because they felt that through it, the donations made would have more impact.
Betsy’s philanthropy mostly focuses on education reform. In 2015 for instance, her foundation allotted over 3 million dollars to education reform. This accounted for a whopping 26 percent of its charitable giving that year. Betsy was attracted to education reform due to her commitment to ensuring that learners from all walks of life have equal access to education opportunities. According to her, the education system does not adequately address the needs of learners. Therefore, it is detrimental to the fulfillment of the American dream.
The foundation’s donations mainly benefit schools in Michigan. Institutions that have been bequeathed notable amounts in the recent past include Grand Rapids-based Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State University, Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning, Potter’s House, Rehoboth Christian School, and the West Michigan Academy. These institutions received donations ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. They were chosen because Betsy believes that they offer the best environment for adult supervision and support, accountability, and academic rigor. Visit Betsy’s website at betsydevos.com
Arts and Culture Philanthropy
Apart from education, Betsy’s foundation supports the arts and culture. In 2015, she donated more than $2.5 million to artistic and cultural initiatives. This accounts to over 21 of her charitable giving that year. Together with her husband, Betsy DeVos launched the DeVos Institute of Management, which is a faculty at the University of Maryland. They have similarly been supporting efforts made by Michael Kaiser to strengthen the commercial aspect of arts organizations, which is often overlooked.
What stands out from Betsy’s philanthropy is the fact that she makes donations without demanding for publicity. Besides this, her donations do not have strings attached to the manner in which the monies are spent. She simply makes donations to organizations that she feels will make a notable impact in the society. She has also been integrating her children into the charity tradition by encouraging them to find causes that they can support on their own. Betsy’s recent appointment into the Trump administration proves her desire to leave a legacy.
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