The 11th US secretary for education Betsy DeVos is one woman to watch closely, admire and also aspire to learn from. Not just because of her successful political career but also due to her sense of humanity and determination to transform the society through her charity programs. In 1989, Betsy and her husband Dick founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in their Michigan home. This foundation supports various schools in Michigan such as Wes Michigan Aviation Academy which is a charter school founded by Dick DeVos in 2010. They also support two other private Christian schools and provide funding that helps needy children get scholarships to access quality education from private schools. The foundation also supports the American Federation for Children which Betsy chairs and also the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Besides offering support to the school, DeVos Family Foundation also donates health care and arts. They support the pediatric oncology at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Their funds also go to Art Prize a competition that happens every year in Grand Rapids. Apart from offering financial aid, Betsy also works with non-profit organizations such as Kids Hope US besides being an in school mentor for Grand Rapids Public school for over 15 years now. Philanthropy seems to flow in the blood of the DeVos’ family since they were listed number 24 on Forbes list of Top Givers in 2015. In that year alone, Betsy and her husband’s donations to charity amounted to 11.6 million most of which went to education and arts organizations.
Betty’s interest in education was spark by the fact that her mother was a public school teacher and thus from a tender age, she had a lot to learn about school choice. She knew very well that not all children got access to quality education and that is why most of her giving is dedicated to helping children from low income earning families get vouchers and scholarships. Betsy has always used her political position to champion for education reforms not only in Michigan but also in other states.
The mother of four has over 35 years experience in politics and was elected as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times besides serving in other political and leadership roles. Betty acquired her Bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from the Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She is also the former chair of The Windquest Group a private firm in Michigan. Betsy thus has the leadership qualities and experience required for her position and I can only hope that she continues to agitate even more for education reforms now that she is in a better position to do so.
Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook for updates.