Dick DeVos is not new to the world of philanthropy. His father, Rick DeVos was the founder of Amway. Rick along with his four grown-up children was known to funnel his funds into charity.
Dick DeVos is known for donating his money without having any strings attached to it. This means that he does not like to interfere or know how that money is being spent. Once he earmarks a project, he moves ahead on it. But he would always like to be associated with something that he feels will make a difference to the concerned people.
One example can be seen about a gift to Spectrum Health Foundation. The aim was to underwrite recruiting of the top physician of the country who was also a researcher in cases of childhood cancers that included neuroblastoma. Dick DeVos noted that this was a philanthropic investment that provided him with remarkable results. This is because the survival rate of those who were being treated for the childhood brain cancer increased substantially at the Helen DeVos’ Children’s Hospital.
Another example can be regarding the financial support that has been given since a long time to the popular mega church Willow Creek in Chicago. It is a part of his commitment towards fostering leadership development. There was a donation of $1 million in 2013. This was meant to support the global leadership summit of the church. It was attended by professionals, government, as well as business and church leaders from all around the world. In fact, the previous annual conference had seen philanthropist Melinda Gates as one of the speakers.
Dick DeVos consults his wife as well as their children about where to donate their money. This is the reason why their foundation has added “family” to reflect that approach.
Their kids know where their heart is. Hence Dick DeVos gets a fresh perspective from them about places where he should be investing still more. The kids even tell him where they feel that his proposed contributions are falling short.
His kids can look at him and say that the money is not nearly enough to make a difference. He believes that they are always right. Hence Dick DeVos feels that he can do more and he does that.
Dick DeVos launched the first aviation-themed charter school of the country five years back. This was at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He is the patron of the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Hence his connections can turn the annual fundraiser of the schools into a gala event. This leads to top class speakers coming to the school. Hence Dick DeVos does much more than writing checks for charity.