Betsy DeVos: A Woman Who Genuinely Cares About Doing Good Work

Born Elisabeth Prince on January 8, 1958 to Edgar and Elsa Prince of the Dutch Calvinist city of Holland, Michigan, Betsy DeVos was raised in a wealthy household with her two sisters Eileen and Emilie and brother Erik. After graduating from the Holland Christian High School, DeVos earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After marrying Dick DeVos married in 1980, she and her husband had four children, including Andrea, Elisabeth, Richard DeVos III and Ryan.

Along with her spouse, DeVos co-founded The Windquest Group, a private firm in Grand Rapids, which oversees the DeVos’ investments, in 1898, and she remains actively involved with the firm.

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As a parent herself, DeVos is passionate about all children being in high-performing classrooms, which charter schools often provide. While Betsy believes in increases educational opportunities for children nationwide, children in communities with inferior public schools receive the largest benefit from school choice. As chair of the American Federation for Children, she works to help parents obtain state-funded vouchers so that they may take advantage of expanded education options. In an interview with Philanthropy Roundtable, DeVos said that her advocacy for school choice started when she visited a private school, which served a low-income community as part of her philanthropic work. Realizing that she and her husband could send their children to the best schools with worry, other parents sacrificed greatly to ensure their children receive an excellent education.

A longtime Michigan GOP activist, DeVos supports policies that support traditional American values and limited government. She’s served as both the finance chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.

A longtime philanthropist, Betsy DeVos, along with her husband Dick, administer the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which focuses its charitable giving to the arts, communities, leadership programs and education. In 2010, the awarded the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts more than $22 million to fund the center’s Arts Management Institute, which trains art leaders nationwide.

Betsy Devos also gives her time generously, serving on a number of boards, including the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, ArtPrize, the American Federation for Children, the American Enterprise Institute and the Philanthropy Roundtable.

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