I have always looked to take the advice of business leaders from across the world as I created a career of my own, which includes looking the careers of some of the most successful executives in modern business history. Towards the end of the 1990s I began following the business career of Dick DeVos, then President of the AmWay Group and the former President of the Orlando Magic NBA franchise; not only did the man who brought a major change to the structure of the AmWay Group create a successful business, he also created a network of philanthropic partnerships through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation that have had a great effect on the way I believe business and charitable giving can go hand in hand.
A recent article from MLive I read gave me a glimpse into the range of activities Dick DeVos has undertaken as a philanthropist in recent years, a period of time that has seen him use around $139 million of his personal fortune to back the causes he feels passionately about. As major players in the education reform movement, I expected Dick and Betsy DeVos to have given the majority of their charitable donations to education based groups, but instead I discovered the $3 million given to education was just over a quarter of the couple’s total charitable giving during the year 2015; what shocked me the most was the fact the couple spreads their funding so widely across various groups, resulting in just under $400,000 being provided to groups associated with the education reform movement.
As I have sought to explore the many different options open to Dick DeVos in living a better life as a business executive, I have become convinced the example set by Mr. DeVos in giving a portion of his life to serving others is an essential part of achieving success across every aspect of a career. In the 1990s the need to push forward the ideas surrounding education reform resulted in Dick winning a seat on the Michigan State Board of Education and working to allow greater levels of access to the best educational opportunities open to the people of the state. Even after announcing his retirement as the President and CEO of the AmWay Group I have been impressed by the way Dick DeVos has continued to play an important role in the way his local community of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the community of U.S. citizens work together into the future. Although a supporter of what are often seen as conservative causes I have been impressed by the decision to use The Windquest Group established by Dick DeVos to back investment in green energy solutions and advances in environmentally friendly packaging.