Besty DeVos, along with her husband Dick, established the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation in 1989. Through this foundation, they have funded charitable works across the United States with an emphasis on the western half of Michigan. The main focus of their philanthropy is education, arts, community, leadership, and justice. Over the years they have donated over $139 million to various nonprofits and charities. Along with the rest of the DeVos family almost $1.2 billion has been given which ranked them 20th on Forbe’s annual 50 Top Givers list.
In addition to giving financially to causes Betsy DeVos has given her time. She has served as Chairman of the Board for the Philanthropy Roundtable and the American Federation for Children. She has also served on various other charity boards including the Foundations for Excellence in Education, the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Great Lakes Education Project.
In 2009 the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation founded ArtPrize. ArtPrize is an art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan which attracts artists from around the world. Unlike most other competitions the public has a vote in the winner, which is ultimately decided by a panel of professional artists. The top prize in the competition is $200,000 and altogether $500,000 is awarded to artists at the annual ArtPrize competition.
In addition to having served on the Board of Directors for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 2004 to 2010, DeVos has also partnered with the center in order to fund a program that teaches future board members and art managers how to manage an art institution and raise funding. In 2010 the DeVos foundation gave $22.5 million to further the reach of this program and continue its mission in the future.
Another nonprofit that has been generously given to is the School of Missionary Aviation Technology located at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. This school gives young people the tools and knowledge to enter into the field of aviation upon graduation, including careers such as aircraft maintenance and acquiring a pilot’s license. Among other educational institutions that the have given to includes Ferris State University, Davenport University, Calvin College, and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Community College Foundation.
Betsy DeVos has funded the Pediatric Oncology Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. This program is part of a network of 26 children’s hospitals and universities that research neuroblastoma treatment programs in order to fight childhood cancer. Neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in the adrenal glands, is the most often diagnosed cancer in children less than 5 years old.