For about three decades, Betsy DeVos has actively been involved in serving the public. Betsy is quite vocal on school voucher programs, charter schools, and education choice. Betsy DeVos was an activist for the Detroit charter school system and is a member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She is an active member of nonprofit organizations including the Kids Hope USA, DeVos Institute of Arts Management, and the Mars Hill Bible Church.
Betsy carries out philanthropy in various ways. She served as chairperson of numerous nonprofit organizations such as the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children. While serving on the board of directors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mrs. DeVos made donations to train leaders who run art centers and hire artists.
In 1989, together with husband, Dick, Betsy founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. The foundation donates to various areas ranging from the health sector and education to evangelistic missions and the school choice movement. The family foundation provided significant funding to education freedom and founded an aviation-based school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Other beneficiaries of the organization’s giving ways include two Christian schools run by Potter’s House. Through 1999 to 2014 the charity gave at least $8.6 million to private Christian schools, $59,750 to public schools, and $5.2 million to charter schools in donations. The organization also supports the Foundation for Excellence in Education where Betsy also serves on the board. The funder also supports art programs and is the primary supporter of the annual Art Price competition. Additionally, the DeVos’s support pediatric oncology at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Betsy is perhaps most passionate about education reforms. Several events led to Betsy’s interest in the education sector, but often a visit to Potter’s House Christian School is cited as the beginning of the interest in the freedom to choose schools. At the institution, Betsy met parents that struggled to pay fees. Betsy started sponsoring individual students but eventually expanded the scholarship program. Betsy’s firm belief that every child has a right to quality education drives her desire for school choice. Mrs. DeVos began advocating for charter school and vouchers that provide financial aid to send students who would otherwise not afford private schools to such schools.
Through the Alliance for School Choice, Betsy and Dick have carried out public education on the importance of school choice and engaged key stakeholders in the sector to try and further the school choice agenda. The tax-credit scholarship program in the state of Florida that enables students to enroll in any school private or public is an example of one the education freedom movement’s success. There are currently up to 50000 students benefiting from this program.
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