It was during her undergraduate years at Calvin College that Betsy DeVos first became interested in challenging the status quo. More than three decades later, she has found herself with an impressive list of political accomplishments and philanthropic board positions to her name. In her role as chairwoman of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, she has organized donations to a variety of hospitals, conservative think tanks, liberal arts organizations, and Christian educational institutions.
Under her leadership, the DeVos Family Foundation has also made sizable donations to the X Prize Foundation, a non-profit technology organization that counts Larry Page and Naveen Jain among its directors. Both DeVos and her late husband Richard, best known for co-founding multibillion-dollar corporation Amway, have always been involved in the Republican Party to some degree. Betsy spent six years, split over two separate stints, as the Michigan Republican Party’s chairwoman.
In February of 2017, she was officially sworn in as the United States Secretary of Education. Given her unabashed belief in school choice, she has more than ruffled a few feathers in Washington. DeVos credits free-market economist Milton Friedman with opening her eyes to the role that capitalism can play in education. One of the trends that excites her most, she says, is that numerous states have introduced voucher programs and school-choice initiatives since 2011.
Although DeVos recognizes that traditional public schools may have a place for some, she is quick note that many of them are failing by every metric imaginable. Having grandchildren of her own has made her more determined than ever to make sure that every family in America can choose where and how their children are educated. In her own words, DeVos believes in giving “all students the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
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