In West Michigan, honor isn’t derived from what one owns but from what he gives. The DeVos have so far earned that honor throughout Michigan through their foundations that seek to uplift the communities around them and beyond. What is more is that the Amway DeVos family doesn’t take pride in giving thus hardly will there be press releases of how much they give out to charity. Giving, as it seems with the DeVos, runs in the family. The family runs five independent charitable foundations, comprising of the parents and each child’s foundations. Leading the pack is Richard “Dick” DeVos, the first born of the billionaire, Rich DeVos.
In his Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation that he established with his wife, Dick welcomes visitors with a message that it is in response to the financial gift that he and his family has been blessed with that they have decided to give back to the society. Dick also insists that he is just following his father’s footsteps. Through this two decades old foundation, Dick considers himself and his family just as faithful stewards.
In his life, Dick has impacted a lot of lives through his philanthropic and charitable works. Through the foundation, he started the Education Freedom Fund that awards sponsorships to the bright but needy children in the entire Michigan. This scholarship covers both those that wish to further their education both at the high school and college level.
Dick and Betsy also started the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a high school with an aviation orientation. Through the school readies children with an interest in aviation for a career in the same by nurturing their skill and introducing them to the industry basics. This is a passion close to his heart given that he is a qualified jet aircraft and helicopter pilot. Through this program, he has sponsored over 4,000 children from all over Michigan.
Dick’s interests in the state are not, however, inclined to serve just the educational sector. It is all around and just to the benefit of the state, for instance, he is regularly sponsoring the annual art festival in West Michigan. He has also led several other developmental projects including renovating a $75 million downtown arena as well as the construction of a $130 million heart hospital in to serve West Michigan Residents.
His Forbes profile says the investment mogul was born in 1930 in Budapest, Hungary. He moved to England in 1947 and enrolled in the London School of Economics. He graduated in 1952 and was employed at an investment bank. Four years later, he travelled to the United States where he obtained a job as an analyst at the new York firm, F.M. Mayer. He was able to secure another job at Wertheim & Co. between 1959 and 1963 as an investment manager. Later that year, he moved to Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder where he spent a year before resigning to work on his own.
It is then that he founded his hedge fund company, Soros Fund Management, which would later come to be known as Quantum Fund. It grew aggressively in size and clientele and gained the respect of many in the industry. Soros ran this hedge fund successfully for close to two decades during which he was able to achieve annual returns of above 100%. He stepped back from the hedge fund’s day-to-day management to focus his efforts and time on philanthropic ventures.
Being one of the world’s wealthiest men at the time, Soros decided to start the Open Society Foundations whose backbone was the idea of an open society where no single individual has the monopoly on truth, the government is held accountable, and the people’s rights are respected. This ideology is what set apart his foundation from the numerous other private philanthropic ventures that ever existed.
He provided scholarships to Black South Africans during the apartheid in their country. He also started the Central European University following the falling of the Berlin wall to promote critical thinking among young people. Soros expanded his foundation to Asia, Africa and the United States. His foundations have provided tuition fees for thousands of students in marginalized groups such as refugees from Roma.
His views on economic and investment issues are held in high esteem. He is especially good at transforming economic trends into leveraged plays in currencies and bonds. His most daring investment back in 1992 earned him the famous title of “the man who broke the Bank of England”. He invested $10 billion on a single currency and made a profit of $2 billion. Many also believe he may have been the trigger that caused the financial crisis in Asia in 1997.
Political activism is another thing Soros has come to be known for in recent years. Through his lectures and written work, Soros has managed to air his view on issues of political freedom, human rights and education. He has also spoken on the role the U.S plays in world affairs. When asked about this disparity from his philanthropic work, Soros admitted that his financial success allowed and obliged him to take a stand on controversial issues because others could not.
Describing himself as a philanthropic, financial and philosophical speculator, Soros admits he is a very successful man.