In a time in which the nation has become more polarized than ever about equal opportunity for everyone in education, healthcare and business, Betsy DeVos has been a model of how it should be done. A longtime Michigan education reformer, DeVos has worked with charity organizations to help people of all financial backgrounds afford private and charter schools. Her work in the non-profit field became noticed by President-elect Donald Trump who chose her to become the new Secretary of Education. In February of 2017, DeVos was confirmed by a 51-50 vote to her post.
Betsy DeVos became involved in freedom of education all the way from an early age and named her mother, Elsa Prince as one of the most influential people in this area. She attended Calvin College where she received her B.A. and also was a part of many political campus activities. She became married to Dick DeVos Jr., a multilevel marketing businessman and become a mother of four children, all of whom are aspiring businesspeople including Rick and Elissa who currently serve on their company, The Windquest Group. While the DeVos’s were able to send their children to great private schools, they wanted every family in Grand Rapids to have that opportunity. Read more about her philanthropy at MLive.com.
The first way that Betsy wanted to help families was through scholarships, so she and Dick established three scholarship programs known as Children First America, Education Freedom Fund and Kids Hope USA. She also started working with the Children’s Scholarship Fund to help schools with operating costs, and also have served ont he board of the American Education Reform Council. In the later 2000’s she started programs for building charter schools throughout the state culminating with the grand opening of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a unique charter school that instructs students in aviation, mechanics, robotics, biological sciences and general education.
Betsy DeVos has joined her husband Dick in funding political action groups and committees throughout her career, and that includes groups such as Action Institute and Heritage Foundation. She became involved in both the Republican National Committee and the Michigan State Republican Party where she served as chairperson from 1996-2000, and then again in 2004-2008. She was often known as the biggest threat to then Governor Jennifer Granholm throughout her time at this position.
After stepping down from chair of the state’s Republican party, Dick and Betsy began zeroing in on right-to-work opportunities and eventually supported legislation that was passed in 2012. The DeVos Foundation has given over $139 million in lifetime charity with $17 million going to political campaigns, including those of former President George W. Bush, 2012 candidate Mitt Romney, and 2016 primary candidates Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Betsy DeVos initially opposed Trump’s candidacy but then expressed honor upon being chosen to her cabinet position in November of 2016.
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