Betsy DeVos is a Lamb in Public and a Bulldog in Private

Most political commentators only see the public face of Betsy DeVos. She’s often depicted as a gracious individual, such as when she addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference after privately disagreeing with a policy shift by the Trump administration regarding bathroom use policies. DeVos is often able to deliver news in a manner that avoids irritating those receiving it.


However, looking at her through this lens only tells half the story. Behind closed doors, Betsy DeVos is a fiery individual who has familial connections to top organizations like Blackwater and Amway. She has long fought to steer taxpayer money away from traditional education departments and put it into voucher programs that allow parents to pay for tuition at private schools.


Opponents have long called this a conservative plan to undermine the public education system, but DeVos has shot down these accusations. She argues that the free market would do a much better job of handling the education system. DeVos points to the Great Lakes Education Project, which she founded.


While the public school system in Detroit continues to crumble, the area now has the largest concentration of charter schools in the nation. The fact that the supply exceeds the total demand in some parts of the region seems to prove her point about how much more efficiently these schools can perform than traditional public ones. Public school administrators continue to complain of crowding while charter school classrooms have more than enough space.


Critics claim that she fought as hard as she could to prevent new laws from coming into effect that would close existing charter schools. They’re actually right about this, but it shows just how passionate she fights for the school system that she had a hand in building. From her point of view, public schools are imploding because of their unstable foundation. Most reports have a tendency to neglect this part of DeVos’ position on the issue as well as just how passionate she is about her charitable causes.


Betsy DeVos and her husband gave away around $11.6 million in contributions to charitable causes in 2015 alone. In spite of her connections to politics, this is more than twice the amount she gave away to political causes over the last five years. She even made an appearance at a charter school founded by reggaeton superstar Pitbull. While her critics may focus on positions that they disagree with, they can’t say that DeVos doesn’t fight for what she believes in.


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How Betsy DeVos Made a Name for Herself in the Business, Political, and Philanthropy Worlds

Born on January 8, 1958, in Michigan, Betsy DeVos looked up to her father, Edgar Prince, who was a wealthy industrialist and founder of the Prince Corporation. Her dad’s company supplied automobile parts in Holland, Michigan. Betsy is an alumnus of the famed Holland Christian High School and Calvin College where she graduated with a BA in economics. She developed an interest in politics in college and took part in campus politics. Today, she is the mother of four children and proud wife to Dick DeVos. Her spouse is a wealthy heir to Amway and Richard DeVos’ son. Betsy is one of the most active Republican Party members and supporter of school voucher programs, charter schools, and school choice. On November 23, 2016, when Donald Trump was president-elect, he announced that his pick for the Secretary of Education docket was Betsy DeVos. Later in February, she won by a margin of 51-50 in the Senate votes. As a businessperson, Betsy DeVos chairs the executive board of a privately held corporation known as the Windquest Group. Windquest’s investment interests are in clean energy, manufacturing, and technology. Dick and Betsy are distinguished investors in Neurocore, which is comprised of brain performance centers offering therapy for mental illnesses.


Financial Giving


Betsy DeVos has also made a name for herself in the political fundraising scene in the US. She first gained critical acclaim in the scene in 2004 after raising over $150,000. The money was used to fund George W. Bush’s re-election campaign. The DeVos Family has also been active in the political fundraising scene by supporting Republican Party candidates with donations worth over $17 million. The DeVos Family is famous for being the largest single donor to the Republican Party. According to Betsy, her family is geared towards fostering a conservative governing philosophy. She also states that the philosophy entails respect for traditional American values and limited government. Betsy and her family not only expects the Republican Party to win elections through the funds but also to promote this philosophy.


Charity Work


Through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation that has been operating since 1989, Betsy supports programs and organizations focusing on education, arts, leadership, justice, and community. The DeVos Foundation has a lifetime philanthropic giving of $139 million. In 2015 alone, the family organization’s philanthropic giving amounted to $11.9 million. These contributions have helped to improve institutions such as Michigan’s Foundation for Traditional Value and the Institute for Justice. Others that have benefited include Baptists for Life, Pregnancy Resource Center and Center for Individual Rights. The family organization’s donations have also targeted public schools, charter schools, and private Christian schools. Betsy is personally involved with non-profit organizations like Action Institute, former chair, treasurer and board member, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, donor and former board member, and ArtPrize. The DeVos family funds 16 percent of ArtPrize’s yearly budget.


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