30 Aspiring Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Betsy DeVos


Betsy DeVos, well known for her support for school choice, school voucher programs, and charter schools, is the 11th and current United States Secretary of Education. Hailing from one of the wealthiest families in the country, she is also known for her contributions to various philanthropic causes, specifically related to education. Here are some unique points about the American entrepreneur and the Republican politician:

  1.  She was confirmed as the Secretary of Education by the Senate by a 51–50 margin, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie in favor of her nomination.
  2.  This was reportedly the first time in the history of United States that a Cabinet nominee's confirmation was decided by the Vice President's tiebreaking vote.
  3.  She served as chair of the board of the Alliance for School Choice and the Acton Institute and headed the All Children Matter PAC.
  4.  She, along with her husband established an annual scholarship, titled the Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship, awarded to students earning a BBA or combined BBA/MBA at Northwood University.
  5.  She is a former member of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a think tank founded by Jeb Bush with the goal to build "an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential."
  6.  In October 2008, she hosted a Republican fundraiser event at her residence that was headlined by the then US President George W. Bush.
  7.  She is known as a "a fierce proponent of school vouchers" that would allow students to attend private schools with public funding, and even The New York times stated that it is hard to find anyone more passionate about this particular idea, than Betsy DeVos.
  8.  She was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2004, where she served until 2010.
  9.  She and her husband have reportedly donated $22.5 million in the name of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management in the year 2010 to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in an effort to teach arts managers and boards of directors how to fundraise and manage their cultural institutions.
  10.  The DeVoses' gift was said to be the largest private donation in the Kennedy Center's history, at that time, though part of it would be spent on arts groups in Michigan that had been hit hard by the recession.
  11.  She is the chairwoman of the Windquest Group, a privately held operating group that invests in technology, manufacturing, and clean energy. The company was founded by the DeVos in the year 1989.
  12.  DeVos's first visit to a public university was on April 6, 2017, when she visited Florida International University. During her visit, she was confronted by around 30 protestors, while touring an area designed to resemble a hospital ward.
  13.  She is said to be one of the largest investors—as well as losers, with a commitment of $100 million in the blood-testing company Theranos, which was touted as a breakthrough technology, but infamous for its false claims.
  14.  Betsy, along with her husband, are the chief investors of Neurocore, which is a group of brain performance centers offering biofeedback therapy for disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorder, autism, and anxiety. The couple also sits on the board of the company.
  15.  She is said to have revoked 72 guidance documents of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services which reportedly outlined the rights of disabled students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, in October 2017.
  16.  Elisabeth Dee DeVos was born as Elisabeth Prince on January 8, 1958 to Elsa Prince and Edgar Prince in Holland Michigan. Her father was a billionaire industrialist, who was the founder of Prince Corporation, an automobile parts supplier.
  17.  She attended the Holland Christian High School, before going to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics.
  18.  Her brother Erik Prince served as an officer of the United States Navy SEALs, and went on to establish the American private military company "Blackwater."
  19.  Her father Edgar Prince founded the Prince Corporation, and Betsy was listed for many years on IRS form Form 990s as the foundation's vice president. However, she testified under oath in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that she had nothing to do with the contributions made by her mother's foundation.
  20.  For decades the DeVos family has remained dedicated to the "Republican Party," making huge donations to the party, associated committees and political candidates that amount to over $17 million since 1989.
  21.  She is married to Richard Marvin "Dick" DeVos Jr., world-renowned as Dick DeVos, a businessman who served as CEO of "Amway." The couple are blessed with four children - Richard Marvin (Rick) III, Ryan, Andrea and Elisabeth (Elissa).
  22.  Her husband Dick DeVos ran for Governor of Michigan as a Republican nominee in the year 2006, but was defeated by Jennifer Granholm, the then Democratic incumbent.
  23.  Her son Rick DeVos founded ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the year 2009. Approximately 16 percent of ArtPrize's $3.5 million annual budget was said to be provided by various foundations run by the DeVos family.
  24.  Betsy has also been the chairwoman of the boards of Choices for Children, and Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), which championed charter schools.
  25.  She and her husband established the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in the year 1989, with the motivation by faith, and is focused on supporting five critical areas - education, community, arts, justice, and leadership.
  26.  The couple through their DeVos Foundation made $11.6 million in charitable contributions in the year 2015, which made the couple's lifetime charitable giving to be a whooping total of $139 million.
  27.  Since then, the couple together and separately has been listed among the world's top givers, most powerful people as well as the most influential persons, by several magazines.
  28.  In the year 2016, the Foundation reported $14.3 million in donations to over 100 organizations including the X Prize Foundation, Mars Hill Bible Church, American Enterprise Institute.
  29.  It was reported by the whistle-blower and former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman that the U.S. President Donald Trump refers to her as "Ditzy" DeVos, after she leaves meetings.
  30.  She had been unsuccessful for the past three annual budgets since 2017, in her attempts to cut federal funding for the Special Olympics from her department's budget.
  31.  Betsy DeVos Net Worth: $1 Billion

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