Dick DeVos has done many enormously positive things in his life. He has contributed hugely to the advancement of the business of his father, Rich DeVos, the billionaire cofounder of Amway. He has also made great contributions to a large number of charitable causes, over the course of his life.
But DeVos has also cultivated a number of opponents, most of whom oppose him on strictly ideological grounds. While DeVos is widely known as a major benefactor of the Michigan Republican party, the truth is that he has spent a vanishingly small portion of his life on politics. However, many of his critics have claimed that he has spent vast sums of money making donations to Republican causes as well as conservatism in general.
However, recently, these ideas were exposed as myths. Due to his wife, Betsy DeVos, being appointed to the post of Secretary of Education, DeVos was required to disclose all of his family’s charitable contributions over the last 20-plus years. These revelations made clear that DeVos, contrary to what many of his critics have claimed, donated very little of the total charitable contributions that his family has made to political causes.
The vast majority of the more than $110 million the DeVos’ family has given away has been directed towards local charities, in particular, local educational institutions that help disadvantaged youth. In 2015 alone, DeVos gave away more than $11 million to Michigan schools. But DeVos has not been contented simply to sit on the sidelines or to act as a paymaster to his favored projects.
DeVos has long been a passionate advocate for charter schools and the benefits that they offer, particularly to underprivileged and inner-city children. The United States has long suffered from extreme dysfunction in its urban schools. Charter schools have been among the only solutions that have a proven track record of alleviating some of these terrible afflictions, which include many school districts not having a single student that tests proficient in math or reading. This is certainly the case in Detroit and other cities throughout Michigan and the Midwest .
One of DeVos’ major projects has been the funding of Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning School, a charter school specifically dedicated to uplifting talented youth in the Detroit metro area, one of the state’s worst public school districts, where students who genuinely want to learn stand virtually no chance of being able to do so.
Detroit Charter School Company New Urban Learning School has been a resounding success. In a school district where virtually no student is deemed proficient on standardized tests, the school has produced class after class of highly proficient student bodies who are capable of scoring up to 75 percent proficient in the main areas of standardized testing.