Dick DeVos has been working for most of his life to improve the city he calls home, which is Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a pilot and aviation enthusiast, he started up the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is a charter school that is located in the city. He founded the school in 2010 with the help of his wife, Betsy DeVos, and the nonprofit school, which started out with 80 students. The classes originally took place in an older office at the Gerald R. For International Airport but now exists in its own building. It has also grown to serve 600 students, and many of them travel quite some distance to be able to study there.
Dick DeVos also co-founded the Great Lakes Education Project, which is an advocacy group for educational choice that also houses a political action committee. Dick agrees with his wife’s statements when she commented that schools schools should be locally controlled rather than managed from afar or by bigger government. The West Michigan Aviation charter school doesn’t cost students anything, and this is because the state of Michigan pays for it as well as the DeVos who have donated millions to keep it moving along. It has been worth it for Dick DeVos who feels that the school must stay at the airport.
This isn’t the only positive move Dick DeVos has made for the city of Grand Rapids. Back in 1991, he started a lobbying effort to shut down plans to build a sports and convention arena in the city. While many residents may have thought that the arena was a marvelous idea, Dick knew something more that caused him to begin his efforts to stop it as soon as he heard about it. What he knew was that many years ago in the city of Detroit, during the 1970’s, the city had constructed the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills. The arena had been built, specifically, for the Detroit Lions and the Pistons. When those teams, later on, decided to leave the city, it was left with a building that it couldn’t use, and this had an effect on the city’s economy.
Dick DeVos wasn’t going to let this same thing happen to Grand Rapids, and it could be especially devastating as the city was hoping to build the arena just north of downtown. More than one positive thing came out of his lobbying efforts. One of these positive things was that the arena and convention center was never built. The second side effect of the lobbying effort was that a political action committee named Grand Action was formed. The group was comprised of local business leaders who cared for the city, and their combined efforts led to the construction of many useful buildings that continue to serve the city to this day.
Dick DeVos plans on continuing to do everything he can to improve the city of Grand Rapids, and with his fortune and the determination he has always had, he is very likely to succeed with his goals.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.