Betsy DeVos is an avid education reformer who has been involved in numerous efforts that allow parents to send their children to the schools of their choice. Together with her husband Dick DeVos, the couple has a long track record of education-focused philanthropy. Born Elisabeth Prince, Betsy undertook her vocational training at Calvin College. For more than three decades, she has led several campaigns, political action committees, and party organizations. She served as the Michigan Republican Party Chairman for six years. Her husband Dick was the 2006 Republican Party nominee for the Michigan gubernatorial seat.
In business, the DeVoses like to find innovative solutions to the societal problems they try to alienate. Betsy presently serves as the Windquest Group’s chairman, a position previously held by her husband. The couple founded the privately-held group in 1989 as a multi-company operating entity that invests in clean energy, technology, and manufacturing. Dick also served as president of both Amway Corporation and the Orlando Magic franchise. Betsy DeVos pursues reform through various non-profit roles she has held over the years. She is the chairman of her family’s philanthropic foundation called the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation has numerous charitable interests in various fields including education and Christian-based organizations. Mrs. DeVos is also a member of many Michigan-based and national boards including Kids Hope USA, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Mars Hill Bible Church. She is also widely known as one of the leading advocates for the educational-choice movement. Today, she is the chairman of the Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children (AFC).
Focus on Education Reform
When asked what made her start her educational reform advocacy work, Betsy DeVos responded that it was not a single incident. She revealed that it was a gradual series of events that slowly piqued her interest. When the DeVoses children reached school going age, the couple went to the Potter’s House Christian School that had served Grand Rapid’s low-income families for over 30 years. They interacted with parents eager to enroll their kids in good schools to give them a good education. The more they visited the school, the more they realized that there was a need to support its endeavors to serve the community. Betsy realized that while she could afford to pay for her kids’ tuition with ease, most parents found it to be a huge sacrifice. Dick DeVos was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1990, which kick-started the DeVoses long journey in championing for education reforms. That same year, Betsy served on two national 501 (c)(3) charities’ boards namely America Education Reform and Children First America. In 1993, they passed the state’s first charter-school bill. By 2002, their work in Michigan became a huge success that they started thinking about doing it nationally.
To learn more, visit http://www.betsydevos.com/.