Dick DeVos is a man with a big heart who has been serving his home state of Michigan for many years. He has supported the Education Freedom Fund in the past, which offers private scholarships to economically challenged Michigan families. He did so by matching a grant for more than $7 million that was provided by the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which helped the Education Freedom Fund to continue helping families in Michigan.
Dick DeVos always has his eye on the happenings in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. When something strikes him as out of place or not good for the city, he takes action. In 1991, he was alerted to an idea that was in the works to build a sports and convention arena outside of the city’s downtown area. He had already seen a similar plan devastate the city of Detroit when the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills was constructed.
The problem wasn’t with the arena itself but had to do with the fact that the Detroit Lions and Pistons left the city during the 1970s. This left the city with a huge bill to pay for the arena and no income coming in from sports games at the arena to pay for it. With this knowledge, Dick DeVos began making phone calls and started up a lobbying effort to counter the construction of the arena and convention center in Grand Rapids.
Dick DeVos helped to gather together a group of local business leaders during this time who were motivated to improve Grand Rapids. The group is called Grand Action, and it has been responsible for many buildings in the city, which have made it a better place to call home. DeVos, also helped to create the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to many different causes that are important to the people of Michigan and the United States, at large.
In Grand Rapids, Dick DeVos has done more than just donate millions of dollars to its educational sector. He started up a charter school named the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is a nonprofit school that started out in an office space in the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The school started out with just 80 students but now boasts more than 600 students who come from all over the world to attend the school.
Dick DeVos is an aviation enthusiast and pilot himself who also helped to put together the Great Lakes Education Project. This project has helped to continue to allow new charter and private schools to be built in Michigan. Due to the popularity of his charter school, there is a drawing every year to see which lucky youngster gets to become a student there. There is no tuition costs to attend the school, just like any other public school, and students get to learn about aviation facts in an environment that spurs their imagination. DeVos hopes to be able to continue to help the students by encouraging them to dream big.
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