21 Aug

Betsy DeVos: A Story of Giving, Learning, and Commitment

Most Americans know Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education. But few Americans know her tremendous story. Her background is one of immense giving and sharing. She was known all the way back in her college years as a leader of the education reform movement while at Calvin College. Then, she was known as Elisabeth Prince. For three decades she led campaigns, organized events and initiatives for her party, and even spearheaded numerous political action committees. Of course, it is not just politics that Betsy DeVos involved in. She has always had a soft spot for children and education. In the 1990’s she served on the board of Children First America and American Education Reform Council. Her list of experience in education causes also includes being the co-chair of the Education Freedom Fund and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, which both hand out scholarships to impoverished kids.

Of course, Betsy DeVos also gives back to the community in various other ways as well. She is a strong supporter of the arts, and started the DeVos Institute for Arts Management. Sometimes, empowering teachers is the best way to help kids in school, so she helped train educators on effective methods to increase class attendance in inner city school districts. Other community outreach initiatives include social programs like helping people become employed, have hot meals, get drivers licenses, and bringing government together with entrepreneurs to create synergy in the community. But DeVos doesn’t just give lip service to these causes. She puts her money where her mouth is. In fact, her family has given over $1 billion to various causes, an impressive figure by any stretch. And she personally matched Michigan schools with $7.5 million of her own money after helping raise funds for scholarships for children.

Through various means, such as the programs above, DeVos helps kids attend better schools, get their college admissions and even higher degrees such as MBAs. Recently, in 2013, DeVos and her family gave $90 million to various associations and causes. Of that figure, half of it was directed toward Children First America and Choices for Children. A quarter was handed out to various community services, women’s shelters, animal shelters, and social services. The remaining amount was split between faith organizations and the arts. With the Foundation of Excellence in Education, Betsy DeVos has secured her name in the ranks of great philanthropists in the Michigan area. She was also a pioneer of providing choices in schools, so that parents could provide their children with the best options. That’s why DeVos sat as the chairman of American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice. When it comes to giving back charitably and financially to causes that truly matter, Betsy DeVos is as experienced as they come.