Newly appointed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan on January 8, 1958. She’s the daughter of billionaire industrialist Edgar Prince and his wife Elsa. DeVos attended Holland Christian High School and has a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Calvin College. She is married to Dick DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Richard Marvin DeVos Sr., and has four children. In 1989, they founded the philanthropic organization called the Dick and Betsy DeVoe Family Foundation. The foundation has donated over $139 million to charity.Most of the charitable donations the DeVos has made has gone to education, arts and culture, health and human services, community improvement, leadership and development, public policy, political causes and churches. DeVos has given her alma mater significant donations. Most of the donations have used to provide direct help to people. Over 26% of Betsy DeVos’ charitable donations have gone to education. She began by paying tuition for students that couldn’t afford it. She has now made a larger commitment to giving students the opportunity to attend safe, high-quality educational institutions so they can have access to the American dream regardless of the socioeconomic background.
DeVos says giving to education causes is her priority because students need to be in an educational environment where they can learn, grow and thrive. This has led her to make significant donations to education reform. Charitable giving has long been a part of Betsy DeVos’ life. Her parents were well-known for their donations to charity. The DeVos family foundation gave over $11 million to charity in 2015 alone. Forbes magazine’s ‘America’s Top Givers’ list ranks the DeVos family 24th. The family’s lifetime charitable giving is in excess of $1.3 billion.To ensure the arts community has a bright future, the Betsy DeVos family foundation donated $22 million to launch a program at the University of Maryland called the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.
They have also made significant donations to the Washington, D.C. based John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in an effort to strengthen arts organization’s business side.In an effort to make a difference in healthcare for children, the DeVos family foundation made a large donation to Spectrum Health Foundation. This helped the organization recruit top physicians and researchers to battle childhood cancers. Many children being treated for brain cancer at the Helen DeVos’ Children’s Hospital now get better treatment outcomes as a result. Charitable donations like these are a reflection of Betsy DeVos’ caring nature.As a mother, seeing children suffering or not living fulfilling lives because of substandard health care or education touches Betsy DeVos’ heart and compels her to do whatever she can to improve their situation.