Betsy DeVos is perhaps best known for her recent appointment to the presidential cabinet as the Secretary of Education under U.S. President, Donald J. Trump, however, she also has a extensive body of work as a philanthropist as well as advocate for educational reform. Ms. DeVos first began her philanthropic ventures when she and her husband, Dick DeVos, first visited the Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids which had itself a very long and storied history of serving the impoverished members of the school’s surrounding community. Ms. DeVos states in a recent interview with the website, Philanthropy Roundtable, that she was extremely moved by the stories of the parents of the children who attended the school, who informed her how hard it was for them to find safe and considerate schools who would actually focus on important curricula.
Betsy DeVos returned numerous times to the Potter’s House Christian School and realized that, due to their substantial wealth, the DeVos family could send their children to basically any school or schools that they wanted – however, the parents whom they encountered were far less fortunate. It was this realization that prompted Ms. DeVos to begin supporting the school, a venture which would snowball into a myriad of other education driven endeavors. Check her website for more info at betsydevos.com.
From this point Ms. DeVos and her husband began funding a series of various different scholarships to help less fortunate parents obtain more school choice for their children, however, one of the problems which the couple ran into was the realization that no matter how many scholarships they gave out, it would never address the core, or root, of the problem – the inherent option, or lack thereof, of school choice. In the mid 90s Ms. DeVos made her first entry into politics to further champion the cause of school choice, in 2000, she embarked on a campaign to change the state constitution of Michigan which would allow for school vouchers, that is, tax credit scholarships – unfortunately the move failed but this didn’t slow down Ms. DeVos efforts. In 2001 Ms. DeVos got involved with a political action committee called The Great Lakes Education Project which worked to advance the cause of education reform which inspired Ms. DeVos and her husband to create the American Federation for Children, a 501(C) non-profit organization which is dedicated to the advancement of the cause of school choice and school vouchers.