The DeVos family of Grand Rapids, Michigan is one of the richest and most philanthropic in the U.S. The family’s patriarch, Richard Sr., is the co-founder of Amway Corporation.
On thing the DeVos’s know is that power and influence doesn’t always come from how much money you have — how much you give away is where the influence lies. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, The DeVos family is estimated to have given $1.2 billion away over a lifetime. Although Forbes ordinarily doesn’t reach such information, a little prodding did the trick. Richard DeVos says releasing the numbers will hopefully encourage more people to give.
The family is well known in Michigan for their conservative political stance. Richard “Dick” DeVos ran in the 2006 Governor’s race against as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm but lost.
While Forbes lists how much money a family gives, it doesn’t tell exactly where all the money went. According to 2013 IRS records, the bulk of their giving went to education. In fact, 48% went to education, 27% to health and community services, 13% to faith-based organizations and 12% to the arts.
American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation and Mackinaw Center were given six-figure donations.
The family has five separate foundations. Each of Richard DeVoses four children have a foundation. The elder DeVos and his wife run the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. At times, all five foundations work together to attain a goal.
A number of charities are singing the praises of the DeVos family. The South Division Avenue Ministry is able to feed and clothe people. They offer other services such as helping individuals find jobs and get identification. Mel Trotter, spokesperson for the ministry says that they wouldn’t be in existence now if not for the generosity of the DeVos family.