Dick DeVos And His Wife Are Rebuilding Grand Rapids, Michigan
Richard “Dick” DeVos and his wife Elizabeth “Betsy” DeVos are rebuilding, preserving and transforming their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The two are well-known names in Michigan politics, business, and philanthropy but you will be surprised at this couple’s influence outside of their home state.
One example of Dick DeVos’s influence on the development of Grand Rapids, Michigan has to do with preserving the downtown area from blight. Back in 1991, there was talk and even a plan to build a complex outside of downtown Grand Rapids. The complex would include sports facilities and convention space.
Dick DeVos led the charge against this plan and helped establish the Grand Action group. This was a group that was opposed to the construction of the facilities outside of Grand Rapids. Richard DeVos said during an interview with Crain’s magazine that lessons were learned from the blight of downtown Detroit following a similar move. The city’s downtown suffered tremendously when suburban stadiums such as the Palace and Silverdome were built outside the city center.
Dick DeVos was determined not to let the same decline happen to Grand Rapids. He and the group he founded were ultimately successful in lobbying against the suburban construction project. To compensate for the loss of construction, the DeVoses helped spearhead several facilities right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. This included building the University of Michigan Medical School and the City Market. Much money and time were also devoted to a performance hall, convention arena and multi-use sports and concert facility.
The concert hall and convention center was named after their primary benefactors the DeVoses as a testament to the Devos’ generation contribution and leadership. That is not all that Dick DeVos and his wife have done for Grand Rapids, Michigan. The couple also helped create and fund a children’s hospital in the city that was named after Dick Devos’ mother, Helen. Richard “Dick” DeVos said that building the hospital was a great way to honor his mother and would help parents of children who are ill. They would no longer have to travel great distances from Western Michigan to see their kids at the Mayo Clinic. Dick and Betsy contributed a total of 12.5 million to the kids’ hospital in Grand Rapids.
The wife of Richard “Dick” DeVos is famous for her work in educational reform and her push for school vouchers for private schools. Elizabeth Betsy DeVos is now the Secretary of Education under the Trump Administration where she is spearheading educational policy at the federal level. Dick DeVos has also contributed to educational reform by opening the first ever aviation charter school located right in Grand Rapids International Airport. The school truly is unique in its curriculum and will prepare students for exciting careers in aviation and aerospace.
Dick DeVos is an avid aviator himself as well as a sailor. His aviation charter school will help educate the next generation of aviators and aviation enthusiasts. It is a great way to give back and to further build up the Devos’ beloved city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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