Category archives: Education Reforms

Education and Philanthropy Occupy an Important Position in Betsy DeVos’s Heart

Betsy DeVos is one of the shinning lights of the American education sector. For the last three decades, the famed businesswoman has been using a combination of advocacy and philanthropy to better the lives of hundreds of thousands of students across the country. The soft-spoken lady has also been very active on the political front. Her various successful endeavors in the education, private business, and political fronts led to her being named the country’s secretary for education earlier this year.


Betsy’s involvement in the education sector started when she was herself a parent to school-going children. She realized that while she could provide her children with an education of a certain quality, not all parents could afford the same. The public education system was riddled with many challenges and inefficiencies. Consequently, Betsy decided to start offering scholarships to bright but disadvantaged children. However, while these scholarships did help many deserving children, she soon came to the realization their impact was still too small. After that, she decided to use her political experience and networks to advocate for better education standards in the country. Till this day, Betsy DeVos has helped over 250 thousand students in states all across the country access quality education.


Betsy DeVos runs the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. She formed the foundation jointly with her husband, who is equally passionate about helping people, in 1989. They molded the foundation as a charitable organization that would help the less fortunate in society in the areas of education, governance, art, and community, while at the same time advancing their conservative ideals. Consequently, a great deal of the schools supported by the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation are Christian and mission schools. An analysis of the foundation’s giving between 1999 and 2015 revealed that the greatest portion of funds (nine million dollars) had gone towards Christian schools, followed by mission schools (five million dollars, and lastly public schools ($59,750).


The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation has also supported various initiatives that are not in the education sector. The foundation has been very supportive of art programs as they allow the youth to express themselves adequately. In fact, the foundation in 2009 launched an annual art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Entry into the competition is free, and the prize money runs into the thousands of dollars. Further, Betsy DeVos has greatly supported the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Three years ago, she made one of the single largest contributions that the center has received since its formation. The $22.5 million donation allowed the center to expand on its program of growing creativity in communities that had been hardest hit by the 2008 global financial crisis.


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