Dick and Betsy Become Institution Changers

Betsy and Dick DeVos are both very proud of their hometown. They have always been able to take advantage of the things the area has to offer. Many people in the area, including Mr. DeVos, did not like the idea of a massive development project taking place downtown. In response, they formed a group called The Grand Action Group.


Aside from politics, Dick and Betsy DeVos also support charitable organizations. In 2006, they donated $12 million to a new children’s hospital in Michigan. They are hardcore Republicans who spend a lot of their money on politics and education. Years ago, Dick called the CEO of AirTran Airways to improve the Grand Rapids Airport. It was an important phone call and helped change air travel in western Michigan.


Dick was able to convince the CEO of Grand Rapids to let the low-cost carrier operate out of the airport. He was also able to convince Southwest to purchase the company.

Dick DeVos was able to call AirTrain Airways’ CEO Bill Johnson to tell him that his family owned the Orlando Magic. This helped him get the phone call in the first place.


Radashaw is a senior at West Michigan Aviation Academy, which was started by Dick DeVos in 2010. The school, which fills the seats using a public lottery, has grown to 600 students. Many of them ride public buses to get to the airport and have to cross through many cities to get to school.


Dick and Betsy DeVos created the Great Lakes Education Project in 1991 to advocate for school choice. They also helped defeat a proposal that would have allowed regulators to make decisions about opening new schools. West Michigan Aviation is operated by the DeVos family. It’s tuition-free, and it gets its money from the state to help fund its programs.