For years, Betsy DeVos has been known as the “Reformer” in the crowds she frequents. Many people would love the opportunity to sit down and ask Betsy questions about her life, career and passions. For decades, she has been a leader for educational reform. She attended Calvin College in her youth and became involved in campus politics.
Betsy loved to look for new solutions to social issues and has held many nonprofit roles in her community. Together with her husband, Betsy DeVos started a foundation to help various charitable interests.
Interview With Philanthropy Magazine
- How Do You Feel About The 25th Anniversary of The First Voucher Program?
Betsy feels optimistic about the growth in educational reform. It has been 25 years since the first voucher program was instated for a private school. Today, the programs are for both public and private schools and span across 17 states. The growth is only expected to continue.
- How Did You First Get Interested In Educational Reform?
It was no single incident that drew Betsy DeVos into the movement. It was more of a gradual occurrence. When she and her husband, Dick DeVos, had children attending school, they would visit the school and see how many other parents had to fight to make enough money to give their children a good education. They knew they were fortunate to afford proper schooling for their children, and others were not as lucky.
Their support started with helping a few students attending the same school as their children. In time, that commitment began to grow to other schools in the area and state. To this day, however, the DeVos’ contributions to the Potter’s House continue.
- What Do You Think Has Been Your Biggest Success?
Simply put, Florida has been the biggest success for educational choice. The state has experienced the most widespread educational support for a long time. There are more than 50,000 kids across the state going to a school of their choosing. Indiana and Louisiana are also close behind and making great strides. Between both states, there is a potential to help over one million students each year with the programs implemented.
- Dick DeVos Started A Charter School?
Yes, he founded a high school charter academy in the Grand Rapids airport. He has a love of aviation and is a pilot. He wanted to find a way to combine his love of aviation with his passion for educational choice. When he found out about the space available in the airport hangar, it seemed like it was meant to be.
Dick And Betsy DeVos Announce Giving More Than $139 Million To Charities
Mr. and Mrs. DeVos get a lot of attention from the amount of money they spend on various political campaigns and charities. They have received a lot of criticism for the amount they give in political donations. However, it is only a drop in the bucket compared to how much their family donates to different charities. In their lifetime, their contributions have surpassed more than $139 million.
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