In the last three decades, Betsy DeVos has been one of the most active non-government actors in America’s education sector. She has diligently worked towards making the education system in the country more effective for the nation’s children, especially those who come from less fortunate backgrounds. In addition to her expertise and time, Betsy DeVos has also given a considerable portion of her personal wealth towards bettering the lives of millions across the country. This strong legacy of philanthropy and education reform led to her being named the country’s new education secretary earlier this year.
Betsy DeVos’ involvement in the education sector started out in the late 1980s. As a parent to school-going age children, she shared the desire of millions across the country to have their children have access to only the best quality of education available. However, she soon realized that many parents were not as fortunate as her and their children were not adequately served by the public school system. She decided to something about it and soon after started offering scholarships to a few students. While the scholarships helped a few dozen people, she soon realized that focusing her energies towards advocacy would likely help thousands more. Thus she began her journey towards becoming the education reformer known across the country today.
In 1989, Betsy and her husband Dick founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. For close to three decades now, the foundation has been the primary platform for Betsy’s philanthropic endeavors. The foundation is anchored on the same conservative values that Betsy and her husband strongly adhere to. Consequently, the foundation has particularly supported Christian schools in its education programs. It is also one of the largest private foundations in the country, raising in excess of $10 million every year. Working directly through her own advocacy and indirectly through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, it is estimated that Betsy DeVos has helped about a quarter of a million less fortunate children all across the country have access to a quality education.
Outside the bounds, if the education sector, Betsy DeVos has made significant philanthropic contributions towards art, youth, and community. Her contribution of $22.5 million made to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in 2012 remains one of the single largest received by the institution since its formation decades ago. She is also the chief backer behind the ArtPrize competition that is held every year in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She launched the competition eight years ago and has gone on to issue approximately $500 thousand in awards every year. In fact, the prominence of the competition has since it named by the New York Times as one of the best events in the country to attend.
To learn more, visit http://www.betsydevos.com/.