Like so many others, I only knew Betsy DeVos as the current United States Secretary of Education. But, what I discovered recently is that there’s a side of DeVos that often goes unnoticed. She has a remarkable ongoing commitment to philanthropic work. Before she reached the national spotlight, she began her work life as Elisabeth Prince. Her hidden asset is that she’s completely willing to let others have the spotlight.
I learned that most of her philanthropic work is done with her husband, Dick DeVos; the former Amway president and former president of NBA’s Orlando Magic. This all began in 1989, while I was just trying to figure out my place in the world, Betsy DeVos was already creating firms. She started the Windquest Group with her husband during that year. It is a multifaceted operational group, headquartered in Michigan, which invests in clean energy, technology and manufacturing.
Betsy is also the Board Chairman for a number of non-profit organizations. Including the following: the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation, the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, Kids Hope USA, and the Mars Hill Bible Church and the Foundation for Excellence in Education. And her biggest role as Chairman is with the partner arm of the American Federation for Children, Alliance for School Choice. Follow Betsy on Twitter.
What I consider left out of many mentions about Betsy DeVos is that she represents female empowerment. Her role as Chairman for so many charitable organizations is testimony that she’s cares and she doesn’t let anyone stop her from achieving anything. In her biography posted on the Department of Education official website, a person can further understand her long standing history of advocacy for children’s education.
Betsy DeVos definitely carries the mantle of political advocate well, as she has in her three decades long history working for educational reforms. Ask her and she might as well say that, “she got it from her Mama.” Yes, this is just me and an old Southern term I grew up with, but it also applies to Betsy. She became interested in the process of children and parents rights after watching her mother; who worked as a teacher in public schools. DeVos personally witnessed what works and what doesn’t work in school systems.
When her own children began school, Betsy DeVos was concerned about the quality of education afforded other children. Betsy DeVos saw that not all children were provided the same educational opportunities. Thus, she decided to get involved as a mentor. It was her dedication to a program working with at-risk youths that left an indelible impression on DeVos. She said this about her experience: “changed my life and my perspective about education forever.”