Seeing as how Betsy DeVos is the new Secretary of Education for the U.S., I thought I should at least know something about her. After all, I do want kids some day and the educational decisions made at the highest level will certainly affect them somehow. But even if you don’t have kids, it’s important to realize that the kids that are being educated now are going to make up the majority of the work force in the ages to come, so we should all want to know more about DeVos. Here’ what I found out. She has been an activist for educational choice for 30 years now. Starting off at Calvin College, the young Elisabeth Prince (maiden name) was active in campus politics. She hasn’t slowed down since. Since that time, she has led various campaigns, party organizations and even political action committees. Her contributions have ranged from giving her time, to bringing light to important issues, all the way to actually giving her own money. Read more about her philanthropy at MLive.com.
For example, she is the current Chairman of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Other organizations she is actively involved in or on the board of are the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, Foundation for Excellence in Education, Children First America, American Education Reform Council, Kids First, Education Freedom Fund, Alliance for School Choice, and American Federation for Children. Talk about a pedigree! Clearly, she has a strong track record in the realm of education. She actually led a program that teaches leadership skills to teachers and it helped decrease the rate that lower-income students were cutting class by 30%. And it’s not just education that she is involved in. When working with the community, she has helped people get basic needs covered by working with faith-based organizations. For example, they helped homeless people get their driver licenses, get hired on to new jobs, enjoy social programs, a hot shower, meals, and even a roof over their heads. One such success story helped by DeVos is Mel Trotter, who went from being homeless to having an apartment in a little over a month.
It isn’t just giving time and helping in person that Betsy DeVos does. She also gives money in the form of donations to various groups. For example, she donated $7.5 million of her own money to match the Children’s Scholarship fund and help Michigan schools. The students were able to go on and get higher education degrees like their MBA in business. All in all, the DeVos family’s philanthropic efforts have resulted in over $1 billion. And in 2013 alone, they offered $90 million in charitable donations to various faith, education, and social based organizations, including the arts. Betsy DeVos surely impressed me with her background, and I’m glad to know our Secretary of Education really cares. Read her interview with Philanthropy Table