Dick and Betsy DeVos Say They Give As A Way of Being Good Stewards

Dick and Betsy DeVos have come under sharp criticism for their political giving in the recent past. Nevertheless, the people who criticize them can only be termed as ignorant since the couple gives more towards charitable courses than towards political ones. In fact, the latter is just pocket change in comparison to the former. Case in point, Dick and Betsy DeVos gave $11.6 million in charitable donations in 2015. That was more than half what they had given in the last years towards political courses according to Betsy. Moreover, their total charitable giving as a couple amount to $139 million according to the couple’s foundation website.

Betsy and Dick say that they mostly give towards education related courses. Asked why they do that, Dick said that they noticed a problem in the current public education system, thus they give towards other types of schools to improve the students’ chances of making it. Dick said that he neither had a problem with the people who were employed in the public system nor the administrators, as he knew they worked hard. Nevertheless, he stated that the public school system does not favor kids who come from the wrong zip codes. These kids are denied the chances of attaining the American dream.

Education Related Giving

Betsy and Dick DeVos mainly give towards Charter and Vouchers schools, a fact that makes them criticized since these schools are owned by businessmen. However, Dick says that he once went to Potter’s House School and realized that most of the kids were from disadvantaged homes and their parents could hardly afford to pay their tuition. However, because the school offered a better learning environment, the parents made sacrifices to educate the kids there. As a result, Dick and Betsy decided to support most of the kids in the school to meet their tuition requirements.

Arts and Culture Related Giving

The couple’s second biggest focus in their donations is Arts and Culture. Dick and Betsy donated over $2.4 million towards the course in 2015, and this was 21% of their total giving that year. Previously, the couple also donated $22million in the launching of DeVos Institute of Arts Management that is at the University of Maryland. The couple says that they feel that high-quality arts management in the country is critical for the diversification of arts. The couple also gave 13 percent of their donations to leadership and development related courses.

Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation

Dick and Betsy DeVos based their family foundation on the model their parents left them. The couple was asked to give towards organizations and community as a way of being good stewards of what they had. The model dictates that giving should mainly be towards justice, leadership, education, arts, and community. The giving is also geared towards cultivating leadership and leveraging support in the five fields mentioned above.


How Entrepreneur Dick DeVos Donates His Money

Entrepreneur Dick DeVos, worth an estimated $5.6 billion, has given away a fortune during his adult life. He, along with his wife Betsy, established the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation which has provided funding to nonprofits engaged in both the state of Michigan as well as nationally. While it’s been known for years he was generous with his money how much he has given away wasn’t really known until he recently revealed this number during a recent interview.

Adding up what Dick and Betsy have given over the years comes to about $140 million. While they give to a variety of causes, education and the arts are the primary areas they focus on. In just 2015 they gave $11.6 million to educational causes, primarily those that support charter schools. Dick has said that the main problem with public schools is that the quality of education they provide is almost entirely based on the zip code the school is in. Schools that are in poor communities are almost universally failing to educate children which is incredibly unfair. He sees charter schools, which are run by private organizations, as the answer to public schools. He thinks parents will be able to afford to send their children to charter schools through educational reforms such as vouchers and tax credits.

In the world of arts and culture, Dick DeVos donated $2.4 million in just 2015. Some of this money went to the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. This institute, located at the University of Maryland, graduates students who are ready to be business leaders at art institutions. They develop the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage an arts organization and make sure it is sustainably operated.

Dick DeVos is the son of Richard DeVos, one of the founders of Amway. Dick joined this company himself in 1974. In 1984 he was tapped as a Vice President where he was tasked with increasing the international business of the company. After his success at this endeavor, Amway went from international sales making up just 5% of the company’s sells to this number is over half of all sales.

Along with his wife Betsy, Dick Co-founded The Windquest Group in 1989. This company, which is still privately held, invests mostly in companies that are in manufacturing and technology. He invests in companies that create alternative energy that is sustainable. This includes not only environmentally sustainable but also economically as well. He says he won’t invest in a company that has built its model on subsidies are tax incentives because once those go away, as they inevitably do, their business model won’t work and the company will collapse.


George Soros: The Fighter for Human Causes

George Soros, the hedge fund manager cum billionaire and philanthropist, is known for his fights for human causes. Though, he is one of the richest people in the world and a busy investor, Soros equally invests time in his philanthropy works as well including his Open Society Foundations activities and protests against inhuman activities around the world. In the 2016 Presidential Election, he actively fought against Donald Trump considering his divisive and rhetoric campaigns and unclear policies. In the election, he spent more than $25 million for Hillary Clinton and other candidates from Democratic Party to stop Trump. It should be noted that it was not the first time Soros making a spend-spree, as he did the same in 2004 Presidential Election as well to defend George W. Bush for his invasion to Iraq. Know more on CNBC about George Soros.

George Soros also mobilized funds for Democratic candidates in 2016 Elections by closely working with pro-Democratic billionaires which gave a significant upper hand against Republican candidates in the election. Soros has also given out funds to many pro-reform organizations for election and election funding. In 2016 June, Soros contributed $7 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Clinton. He also donated $5 million to Immigrant Voters Win, a super PAC working to increase the voting percentage and participation in Hispanic voters, especially in key swing states. Soros contributed to Voting Rights Trust as well, a group fighting against the efforts of conservatives to restrict voting. He donated $2 million to America Votes, a voter mobilization group.

Know more: https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/george-soros

Soros is also known for fighting against the social issues like human rights and civil rights violations. In 2014, he was the sole funder and inspiration of Ferguson protests which saw the fatal shooting of a black boy named Michael Brown. It created unrest in the city for several days and led to a nationwide protest which were focused on racial issues embed with the civil departments of United States. The internal information and the records reviewed by The Washington Times showed that Soros actively mobilized the groups with funds and voluntary organizations across the U.S. cities. It is reported that Soros spent at least $33 million to establish grass-root level movements including funding groups in Ferguson. Most of his contributions were channeled through his Open Society Foundations.

The Hungarian-born businessman built his business empire through risky currency trade, and currently, he has fortunes over $25 billion. Soros completed his graduation from London School of Economics, moved to U.S., and started career as a stock trader. In 1969, Soros established his fund management firm which became Soros Fund Management after four years. From early 80s, he started contributing for various causes and establishing open society foundations around the world. Official records show that he contributed more than $13 billion in the last three decades. Read more about George’s life story at biography.com

Besty DeVos, the Selfless Reformer

Giving back to the community is a vital part of a business or an individual being a means to show appreciation to the community one has grown in or that which the company operates. It is geared towards improving the living standards of those living in the surrounding. Though regarded as a way of helping, it is paramount for a business to carry out charitable activities to upgrade the society in which it exists, as a part of the corporate social responsibility. More so, philanthropy is highly encouraged to be it from individuals like Betsy DeVos, businesses or other firms.

Elisabeth Dee ‘Betsy’ DeVos is an American businesswoman born in 1958. She is also an activist, philanthropist, reformer, and a politician. Betsy is the 11th and current Secretary of Education in America. She is a Republican and a staunch advocate for school choice, charter schools, and voucher programs and also for the Protestant Christian community. Besides, Mrs. DeVos was Michigan’s Republican Committeewoman from 1992 to 1997. Between 1996 and 2000, she served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and was reelected later in 2003. Moreover, Mrs. DeVos is a member of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Also, she has served as chairwoman of the board of Alliance for School Choice, Action Institute and the PAC on All Children Matter.

Betsy DeVos has championed for the private-school voucher program movement that has thus far been a success. Presently, 250,000 students in 17 states have benefited from the program. It aims at providing a conducive and safe environment for the students. Through this program, she and her husband supported individual students at Potter’s House, and it has turned out to be a commitment of which they are happy to help.

Because Betsy had school aged children, it helped her to vividly see what other parents from disadvantaged families passed through to pay for their children’s tuition. It led to increasing their financial support to more parents. She also started a foundation that aimed at giving scholarships to low-income families so that they could have freedom of choice on which school their children would join. Check this related article from nypost.com.

She also served on the boards of Children First America and American Education Reform Councils both of which were charities aimed at expansions in education. More so, she was actively involved in the formation of American Federation for Children Action Fund aimed at supporting students educationally. Her efforts towards education have prevented actions to undermine education choice in the country. Besty DeVos believes that all parents have the chance to choose the best educational system for their children through the currently advocated education programs.

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George Soros: Business Mogul and World’s Foremost Philanthropist

George Soros began life as an average child in Hungary. He went on to become a vastly wealthy businessman and is said to have “broke the Bank of England”. Not only is Soros a very intelligent investor and business magnate, he is actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors.

As a child, George Soros narrowly escaped a horrific fate. He saw firsthand the awful effects of prejudice while living in Hungary during the era of the Nazis. Soros managed to flee from Hungary. He worked hard to support himself through schooling at the London School of Economics. He took jobs as a railway porter and a waiter. After graduating, he made his way to Wall Street. In 1969, George Soros established his own hedge fund with a whopping $12 million. Since then, he has gone nowhere but up. The Soros Fund Management is worth about $30 billion. Read more on NYTimes.com.

As much as his money puts him above issues facing average people today, he has given over $12 billion to political and social charities and people looking to change the world. He contributed $25 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign because of her stances on religious tolerance, immigration reform, and criminal justice reform. He is a very outspoken critic of Donald Trump, even accused him of playing on the fears of others and “doing the work of Isis”.

George Soros has put an enormous amount of resources into upholding democratic ideals. He donates to causes that fight for freedom of expression, transparency, government accountability, and equality. He often focuses on groups that face discrimination. He has supported groups representing Europe’s Roma people, drug users, sex workers, and LGBTI people. Also, George Soros has given impressive donations to the International Crisis Group and UNICEF of $5 million each. In 2016, he donated $4 million to the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute.

One of Soros’ biggest contributions has been to the Millennium Promise and Millennium Villages Project. To date he has donated over $75 million. The project is helping to end extreme poverty in Africa through education, access to health care, business development tools, food, water, and energy.

Soros founded the Open Society Foundations which has connections to over 100 countries and strives to create a world where everyone has equal chances to make something of themselves.

Read more on Snopes about George Soros.