Introduction – Elizabeth Dee DeVos known fondly as “Betsy” DeVos is the eleventh and current United States Secretary of Education. She is known and respected worldwide for her kind and generous spirit, her entrepreneurial successes and for a lifetime of charitable giving and philanthropy to help children, the poor and the sick.
Family Background – Betsy DeVos was born on January 8, 1958 in Holland, Michigan to parents of Dutch ancestry. Her father, Edgar Prince, founded the Prince Corporation which became one of the preeminent automobile parts suppliers in the state of Michigan. Her mother, Elsa Broekhuizen, was a teacher in the local public school’s system.
Education – Betsy attended Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan and then went on to attend Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she became involved in campus politics. She graduated with a BA degree in Business Economics in 1979.
Business Career – Betsy DeVos is an entrepreneur who co-founded and is the former Chairman of the “Windquest Group” a privately held enterprise and investment management firm based in Michigan with holdings in technology, clean energy and manufacturing. Windquest’s mission statement is “We invest in people who care and aim to make our world a better place.”
Betsy is also the chief investor in and a board member of “Neurocore”, an innovative brain performance center that offers biofeedback as an alternative treatment for conditions such as depression, ADD, autism and anxiety.
Corporate Board Positions – Ms. DeVos participates on many important American Boards including the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Kid’s Hope USA, ArtPrize and the Kendall College of Art and Design.
Marriage and Children – Betsy DeVos is married to Dick DeVos who is the former CEO of Amway, a multi- level marketing company started by her father-in-law, Richard DeVos. Together, they have four children and six grandchildren.
Philanthropy – To give back and to help as many people as possible, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation was launched in 1989. In 2015, the DeVos Foundation made 11.6 million dollars in charitable contributions with the couple’s lifetime charitable giving topping out at 139 million dollars putting them at number 24 on the 2015 list of America’s top givers.
The DeVos Foundation has donated substantial amounts of money to hospitals, health research and arts organizations. As an example, to help support upcoming struggling artists, Betsy DeVos has co-founded “ArtPrize” with her son Rick who developed the initial idea for an international art competition.
During ArtPrize, in a unique act of generosity, Betsy DeVos and the DeVos Foundation fund the world’s richest art competition whereby artists from 47 different countries have the opportunity to display their works in various public spaces in Grand Rapids, Michigan vying for 500,000 dollars in purses with the public viewers selecting half of the winning pieces.
Summary – Betsy DeVos is an American treasure who has selflessly given of herself to help needy children, those who are sick and those needing encouragement to continue on in the Humanities and Arts. All of us can learn from her unending desire to help improve our society.
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