Who Is Betsy DeVos' Husband? New Details About Dick DeVos Jr.

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Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, is mainly known for her support of school voucher programs and charter schools. In layman's terms, she wants to privatize public education. But who is Betsy DeVos’ husband? Well, there’s no doubt about it that her husband is extremely wealthy.

So, what do we know about Dick DeVos Jr. and their family? Here are 10 things to know about the Amway heir.


RELATED: Betsy DeVos' School Voucher Plan Hurts Poor Kids. PERIOD.


1. They met in college.

The couple dated while she was a student at Calvin College, a Christian college in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Apparently, he’d come by campus in his Mercedes to pick her up. They married in 1979 when Betsy was 21 and Dick was 23. He says that their relationship is, “based on our honest sharing of love, faith, and commitment. For me, my first commitment is to God, followed by my commitment to my wife Betsy and to our children.”

2. They have four kids.

Photo: AP

Their children — Richard Marvin (Rick) III, Elisabeth (Elissa), Andrea, and Ryan — are all grown now, and the DeVos’ have one grandchild.

3. He has a college degree.

DeVos has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University, and attended — but didn’t complete — a degree from the Harvard Business School at the Wharton School's Executive Study Programs. He does, however, have honorary doctorates from Grove City College, Central Michigan University and Northwood University.

4. He’s heir to the Amway fortune.

Photo: Getty

Dick is the son of Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway, a “a multi-level marketing company” that has been deemed a pyramid scheme many times. As of earlier this year, his father has a net worth of $5.1 billion. In 1991, Dick DeVos was appointed the president and CEO of Amway, after his father purchased the Orlando Magic basketball team. He only served the position for two years before working for the Windquest Group, an investment management firm.

5. He was involved in the family business even as a child.

DeVos has said, “I still remember when it was in the basement of our home when I was growing up. I remember the offices being down there and people working down there.” He and his brother Doug were assigned to greet attendees to Amway’s conventions and “helped out with everything from clearing plates during gatherings to ferrying guests to play tennis or waterski. That evolved to speaking in front of groups and even giving product demonstrations.”

6. He ran for governor of Michigan in 2006.

He lost to Democrat Jennifer Granholm by 14 percentage points, and hasn’t run since. But the campaign spent $39 million, of which $35 million was DeVos’ money. His main issue was Michigan’s economy, saying, “We're fighting with Mississippi for the highest unemployment rate in the country. We have the lowest personal income growth, the lowest business start-ups in the country. We are the only state that has not moved to positive ground when it comes to actual numbers of jobs in the marketplace.”

In an interview during the campaign, he also said, “It's all about jobs. Jobs are the number one issue in Michigan right now. Our state does not have a climate for job creation. Job-killing taxes like the SBT (Single Business Tax) punish job makers for creating jobs, providing their employees with benefits, and investing in new technology. Taxes like the SBT and Michigan's personal property tax hurt manufacturers more than any other tax. They've got to go if we want to help manufacturing and bring jobs back to Michigan.”


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7. He and his wife lobbied for school voucher programs and charter schools.

Photo: AP

They’ve spent millions lobbying for these issues. They were co-chairs for the Kids First! Yes! Campaign, which supported an amendment that would “allow vouchers and tax credits for K-12 schools in Michigan,” a measure that eventually lost. They were also co-chairs of the Education Freedom Fund and the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which provided scholarships to low-income families.

Though they lobby saying that giving money to parents will give kids the opportunity to send their child to the school of their choice, teachers and teacher unions say it’s an attempt to privatize education. According to Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, the DeVos’ have “consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”

8. He’s anti-union.

His support for Michigan’s “Right to Work” law is proof of that. He claims that employees can work without being compelled to join a union, and spent almost $2 million to fight against unions with the Protecting Michigan Taxpayers group. Michigan then banned mandatory union membership.

In an interview, he said, “We value the freedom to associate; we need to preserve and protect the right in America to disassociate. He was “pleased if I was able to help encourage legislators to truly vote their conscience without fear of political retribution from the other side, which is known for its heavy-handed tactics.”

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In a talk in 2013, DeVos discussed the legislation in Michigan saying, “Freedom to Work was simply the right thing to do. By casting off the practice of forced unionization, Michigan now publicly declares to other states and in fact the world, that we embrace freedom for our workers, true equality in the workplace and that we are ready to compete with anyone, anywhere to create economic opportunity for our Michigan families.” This legislation was funded by the Koch brothers and the DeVos family.

9. They run a charity.

With wealth like this, the DeVos family has donated “thousands of dollars to religious, education and artistic organizations.” He is president of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, a charity they founded in 1989. They’ve donated to The Potter’s House, a private school in Michigan for low-income students, the Mars Hill Bible Church, a non-denominational Christian church in Grand Rapids, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a hospital named after his mother.  

10. They are used to a lavish lifestyle.

Photo: AP

When the family isn't running charities or lobbying for charter schools, they can relax on a $40,000 yacht, and have a gift buyer and toy repairer. That’s right, they have a personal assistant who purchases all of their gifts for the holiday season, including suggesting gift ideas, buying the items, and wrapping presents. And if the toys break, a property manager takes care of that, as well as “other duties like ensuring that ‘doors are well-oiled to avoid squeaking.’”

The family has 10 boats, and a household assistant that helps to schedule trips for them. An “associate captain” oversees the scheduling of trips on the yacht and a “boat maintenance assistant [who] coordinates their meals aboard while also following ‘proper table etiquette, service and entertaining protocol.’” But if they don’t want to be at sea, they can travel using their four planes and two helicopters.

The family also owns homes in Grand Rapids, three homes in Windsor, Florida, and has a development property in Vero Beach, as well as a “vacation home” in Holland, Michigan.


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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.