Category Archives: Philanthropy

Betsy DeVos: A Champion for School Choice

Betsy DeVos began her political career in college and hasn’t stopped fighting for change ever since. At Calvin College she inserted herself into the political community and began her lifelong commitment to activism. Over the last 30 years she has been the chair of several campaigns, organizations, political action committees, and even served as the Michigan Republican Party’s chairman for six years.

View: http://www.betsydevos.com/policy-involvement/

Most of DeVos’ philanthropic record has been devoted to helping children obtain the quality of education that they deserve and empowering parents to help obtain that education. School choice is one of DeVos’ most strongly held beliefs and a reality she fights for to this day.

When her own children went through school, she realized how many parents had to sacrifice everything just so their kids could get the best education. Potter’s House Christian School first caught Mrs. DeVos’ eye when her own children were school aged. Over the years, she and her husband have returned to the school several times, contributing enough to support individual students at first, then expanding to support much larger programs. They still support Potter’s House Christian School, but Mrs. DeVos has grown her activism and reach far beyond a single school.

In the 1990s, Betsy DeVos started an organization that granted low-income parents scholarships so they could choose the best school for their children and send them wherever they saw fit. It helped, but DeVos knew it wasn’t enough. A larger problem existed, and she made it her mission to try to fix it.

She went on to serve on the boards for both Children First America and the American Education Reform Council, both nonprofit organizations that seek to provide school choice to parents and quality education to children in the United States. In 2000, she and her husband fought to change the constitution so that it would allow tax-credit vouchers or scholarships, but they were unsuccessful.

That didn’t stop Betsy DeVos, though. Betsy answered that defeat by starting the Great Lakes Education Project, a political action committee dedicated to influencing statewide education reform, largely through the expansion of charter schools. The committee enjoyed such great success between the years of 2001 and 2002 that DeVos was encouraged to take her initiative nationwide. Read more about her philanthropy at MLive.

At that point, Betsy DeVos became involved in an organization she would go on to chair called the American Federation for Children. She was a primary force in that organization, creating a more streamlined process and cohesive cooperation and furthering the work of helping parents obtain access to school choice so that students can receive the education they deserve.

Betsy DeVos still works tirelessly to bring school choice to as many people as possible across the country. Her work has been largely responsible for major successes in Florida, Louisiana, and Illinois, as well as other states, but she routinely admits there is much work left to do. One thing is for certain, though; Betsy DeVos won’t give up anytime soon.

The life, work, success and philanthropy of Betsy Devos

For the longest time, there has been an invisible glass ceiling that makes it just a little bit harder for women to make it huge in the world of business and investing than the men. However, regardless of the constraints, there are a few women that make it out of the tunnel and make it huge in the world of business and investing, managing to inspire an entire community. One of these exemplary female business leaders is Betsy Devos. She is an entrepreneur, education activist and a philanthropist.

Elisabeth was born on 8 January 1958. She started her early years in Holland, Michigan. Her father was the billionaire and industrialist, Edgar Prince who originally came from Holland. Her father is the founder of the Prince Corporation which sells spare parts to retailers in the state of Michigan. Betsy attended the high school at Holland and after successfully completing it; she joined Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She studied business administration and political science. Betsy was very much involved in campus politics from a very young age.

She was brought up in a very religious background, which explains her conservative roots. She has been a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and has always showed this in all her political undertakings, especially the politics of the republican parties.

In politics, Devos has been a member of the Michigan chapter of the Republican Party since the early 80’s. She between 1992 and 1997, she was the national chairperson of the Republican Party in Michigan. She has always made her voice heard in matters that she believes in and sources close to her state that she has never conducted business in any manner that left people wondering where she stood. She was also very active in the recently concluded campaign for the 2016 Republican Party.

Educational activism

She has been a crusader for better education for all for the longest time. This is perhaps the reason why upon winning, the president elect nominated her to the position of education secretary. Accepting the nomination, Betsy said that it was time to change the manner in which things had always been done, stating that status quo could no longer work for the American masses.

Philanthropy

One of the charities that Betsy helped set up is the Dick and Betsy Devos Family foundation. Its objective is to transform the community by helping promote leadership, speeding up transformation, and supporting the members in five different areas. These areas are leadership, community, arts, justice and education. She believes that when the less fortunate and those without access to resources are uplifted, the entire society will get a chance to improve itself. Betsy DeVos has a loving husband and four children.

Dick DeVos and His Family Share the Wealth

Dick DeVos, son of Richard DeVos Sr., became the co-founder of Amway Corporation in 1974. Amway Corporation is a company that distributes health, household and personal care products through dealers. In turn, those dealers then recruit second level dealers and the process keeps repeating. This helps their company become exposed to several different dealers and customers. DeVos held many different positions in the company and was promoted to vice president of the company’s operations in 18 countries. He left the business in 1989, and began another journey. He was given the position of manager at the National Basket Assocation’s Orlando Magic Basketball franchise, by his father. He also still held a position involved in the management of Windquest Group. A couple years later, he returned to Amway Corporation as president.  Dick DeVos retired as president in 2002 and devoted his time to his private business the Windquest Group.

The DeVoses family are a wealthy family, but they share that wealth with others. The DeVoses have donated $90.9 million in 2013, 48 percent of their donations went to education, 27 percent to health and community services, 13 percent to churches, and 12 percent to arts and culture. The remaining 66% was given to organizations in Michigan, mainly in the greater Grand Rapids area. The family donated similar the following year. The DeVoses have a total of five family foundations. These are run by Rich and his wife, and each of their four children and spouses. The family has a passion for helping the Grand Rapids community.

In his spare time, DeVos is also a father to four children and a husband to Elizabeth DeVos. The couple started a family foundation in 1989, called The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation helps to fund local and global communities for growth and viability, five to ten new organizations receive support yearly.

Sanjay Shah: Creator of the Solo Capital Empire

Sanjay Shah was born in London to immigrant parents. His parents had immigrated to the United Kingdom from Kenya in the 1960s in search of a better life for their family. Shah pursued this dream by starting medical school at King’s College. Before long, he realized that medicine was not for him so he switched to accounting. After graduating, Shah worked at KPMG as a trainee chartered accountant. He then moved into investment banking and worked for companies like Rabobank, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, ING and Merrill Lynch.

In 2009, many people were let go because of redundancy during the recession, Shah was among them. Shah did not want to look for another job. He had no desire to continue the long commute from home to work everyday. He also did not want to work the long hours that a job required when he knew he could do the work in less. Shah decided to start his own firm, Solo Capital. The firm is also known as Solo Capital Markets, Solo Capital UK and Solo Capital Limited.

The firm is controlled by Shah’s Solo Group Holdings, which is controlled by Shah’s Aesa S.a.r.l. The firm is headquartered in London and the United Kingdom regulates it. Solo Capital was incorporated in 2011 and the only employees were Shah and a few traders and graduates. The firm quickly grew and an office was opened in Dubai, where Shah now lives with his family.  As of March 2015, the firm had a cash flow of 30 million pounds, assets equal to 67 million pounds and a net worth of 15 million pounds.

The firm offers specialized services in 3 different areas. The first area is proprietary trading, which includes commodities, FX and derivatives. The second area is consulting, which includes human capital, performance and investment. The third area is professional sports investments, which includes commercial advisory and representation, asset and performance management and talent acquisition.

The firm and Shah’s other investments have made him a net worth of 280 million dollars. Shah owns over 35 companies around the world. These companies are in the United Kingdom, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, United Arab Emirates, Luxembourg and Malta.

Last year was its first year and it successfully brought in several thousand people to see acts like Joss Stone and Aloe Blacc. Shah is also heavily involved in philanthropy and even founded his own charity, Autism Rocks.

 

Check out Solo Capital on LinkedIn