Dick And Betsy Are Change-Makers For Their Michigan Hometown

Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, are known as major change-makers for their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are both mega-donors for the Republican party and come from wealthy families. In the early 1990s, Dick was working for his family’s company called Amway. He was working hard and quickly moving his way up the ranks towards CEO. However, that got put on hold for a bit because he heard about a new plan in place that could negatively affect the city.


Grand Action Group


The plan Dick heard about was a new convention and sports arena to be built in the downtown area of Grand Rapids. Dick and fellow businessmen in the area formed a group called Grand Action. They worked hard to try and kill off the proposed plan and ended up falling short.


Couple’s Michigan Charter School Growing


In 2010, Dick and Betsy opened their first charter school together in Michigan. It is a unique type of high school that is devoted to a love of aviation. Dick has always been a lover of aviation and is an avid pilot himself. When he brought the idea of an aviation charter school up to his wife, she was on board with his plan.


Betsy DeVos is the United States Education Secretary and a huge advocate of school choice programs for parents and children. She believes that parents should be able to get their kids a great education no matter where they live or how much money they have.


Dick DeVos Puts Grand Rapids And Airport On Map


The charter school Dick and Betsy founded is located in the old executive hangar of the Grand Rapids airport. Because of the location of his charter school, he has a great responsibility for wanting the airport to be successful. To accomplish this, he set out to contact the CEO of Airtran Airways in hopes of getting flights to his airport. He was successful and now the airport has non-stop flights coming from the GRF International Airport.


Because of the initial success, DeVos worked to get more flights added. In the middle of 2013, Southwest ended up adding their own direct flights to St. Louis, Denver, Orlando and Baltimore. This resulted in a growth that was not anticipated. The airport was quickly starting to track more than twice the amount of passengers compared to the current national average. The income from this success initiated many needed improvements to the airport and grounds.


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