Fourth Generation

The Business Life For Over 80 Years

Grand Rapids Is Fortunate To Have Native Son Dick Devos On Their Side

When Dick Devos, along with his wife Betsy, decided that they could use their wealth and influence to save their hometown of Grand Rapids, Devos went to work. He helped establish Grand Action, a group of business owners who were fighting against suburban sprawl. When tentative plans were made to build a sports arena outside of the city’s downtown district, Devos pointed out that Detroit also moved their area from its downtown location, and if was damaging to the city. Devos and Grand Action ensured that Grand Rapid’s downtown district become home to the Devos Performance Hall, the Van Andel Arena and the Devos Place Convention Center.


Devos, heir to the Amway family fortune, is a major philanthropist who donates money through the Dick & Betsy Devos Family Foundation. A pilot, Devos blended his interests in education and aviation by establishing the West Michigan Aviation Charter School at the Grand Rapids airport. The public high school not only gives students the opportunity to learn to fly, they can study airplane maintenance, aerospace engineering and electronics.


Devos has a special interest in the Grand Rapids Airport, formerly named the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, as well. He brought low-cost Southwest Airlines to Grand Rapids and more passengers came through the airport, which brought upgrades the facility and brought in more businesses. Devos is also responsible for setting up the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan, which made the airport part of Grand Rapids economic development plans.


Despite his avid pursuit of aviation-related causes, Devos’ generosity extends to his numerous other organizations. The Dick & Betsy Devos Family Foundation has donated almost $1.2 billion to worthy causes, most of which are West Michigan-based charities. The foundation has supported the Spectrum Hospital Health Foundation, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in West Michigan. Devos has said that he hopes his donations will encourage others to give as well.


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This entry was posted on January 22, 2018 by .