Elizabeth Betsy DeVos, an American educational activist, businessperson, and politician was born in Holland, Michigan on January 8, 1958. Her parents, Elsa and Edgar Prince, are of Dutch ancestry. Edgar Prince is a billionaire industrialist and was the founder of Prince Corporation. Betsy attended Holland Christian High School, a private school near her home. After graduating from high school, she joined Calvin College situates in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While in college, Betsy was involved in campus politics, and this was the beginning of her political career. In 1979, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics.
Betsy was brought up in a Christian home, and she was a devoted member of the Christian Reformed Church. She is married to Dick DeVos. Her family is among the richest and most influential in the Michigan area. Betsy’s brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of a private military contractor, Blackwater USA, and a former Navy Seal Officer.
Betsy and her husband launched the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1989. This foundation was formed to support education, arts, leadership, community, and justice. It is inspired by faith and aims to cultivate leadership and accelerate transformation in the areas it supports. In their lifetime, the couple has donated approximately $139 million. In 2015, the DeVos family charitable giving was recognized by Forbes as one of the America’s top givers.
The DeVos Family Foundation has donated millions of dollars to Christian Schools, hospitals, arts organizations, health research, free-market think tanks, and evangelical missions. Some of the Christian organizations supported by the foundation include Baptists for Life, Center for Individual Rights, and Michigan’s Pregnancy Resource Center. Concerning the education-based donations, the DeVos Foundation donated approximately $8.6 million to private Christian schools, $59,750 to public schools, and $5.2 million to charter schools.
In 2004, Betsy DeVos was appointed by the President to serve on the Board of Directors at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She maintained her role until 2010. While serving on the board, Betsy and Dick funded the center to teach the boards of directors and arts managers on how to fundraise and run their cultural institutions. In 2010, the couple donated $22.5 million to continue the training. The contribution was given through the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. According to Betsy, despite the fact that a lot of money is invested in arts and training artists, there are little or no investments in training the leaders who run the arts organizations.
Betsy DeVos is a great education activist. She advocates for the open up of private schools and proliferation of charter schools in the United States. She is a fierce supporter of school vouchers that allow students to attend private schools. Betsy was appointed as the Education Secretary by President Donald Trump.