Betsy DeVos Talks About How She Got Started With School Of Choice

Betsy DeVos co-founded The Windquest Group with her husband Dick DeVos and now holds one of the most important jobs as Secretary of the US Department of Education. DeVos was chosen to this position not only because of her high acumen and tremendous business accomplishments, but also because as a political activist she helped change many things in Michigan’s education system. Philanthropy Roundtable interviewed her back in 2013 to find out a little more about why education was so important to her endeavors.Betsy DeVos admitted as a parent with the financial means, she could send her children to any school she wished. But she wanted other families to be able to have the same privileges as her own family, so in 1992 the Education Freedom Fund was founded in partnership with the American Education Reform Council to fund grants and scholarships making private schools more affordable for lower income families. She was also the founder of the Great Lakes Education Project which became a cornerstone for charter schools in Michigan.

DeVos also mentioned other states such as Louisiana where she was part of a grassroots coalition to promote a voucher program for parents to enroll in for private schools. In 2010 Betsy and her husband Dick opened a large charter school in Grand Rapids known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a science-based school that admits a diverse group of students.Betsy DeVos’s personal background includes being the daughter of now deceased Michigan manufacturing tycoon Edgar Prince who was also a philanthropist and activist. The Prince family was joined with the DeVos family, the founders of multilevel marketing giant Amway Corporation when Betsy married Dick DeVos Jr. Dick and Betsy took their business acumen from Amway to start their own alternative investment firm known as The Windquest Group which has been the supporting company behind their foundation.

Beyond the schools and universities Dick and Betsy have donated to, they’ve also supported art competitions such as ArtPrize and had the University of Maryland’s Institute for Arts Management renamed for them.Leading up to Betsy’s selection to be Secretary of Education, she was actively raising funds for candidates including former President George W. Bush who also vocally supported Dick DeVos’s run for governor in 2006. Betsy was chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party twice and was often cited as the biggest attack dog on then Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm. In the coming years Betsy DeVos also supported the Romney campaign and in 2016 began supporting Jeb Bush and later Marco Rubio. She initially had said Trump was unfit to become the Republican Party’s nominee, but upon his election to the presidency, she proclaimed it would be an honor to work with him.

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Bruce Levenson Wants Do Good Institute To Be A Model For Future Philanthropists

Bruce Levenson and his wife Karen started Do Good Institute in 2011, and now that he’s retired from owning an NBA team and the business world he’s devoting much of his time to this institute at the University of Maryland. Students have the opportunity to create a non-profit group and put together creative initiatives to make it successful. One student even started a food conservation program for food that would have otherwise been thrown out. The lab work allows students to give $10,000 to any charity they wish to support. According to PR News, Levenson sees a big opportunity to bring young business minds into the world of giving and keep non-profit groups running instead of failing.

Bruce Levenson grew up in Washington D.C. and has done most of his business and non-profit work there. He got his bachelor’s degree from Washington University and went to law school at American University. Not long after Levenson completed his education, he and Ed Peskowitz started a technology publication business known as Unified Communications Group (UCG). Oil Express was the first magazine published by UCG, but as the company evolved over the years it became more focused on technology research, mortgage banking and healthcare. Levenson was also a founding member of TechTarget and BIA Digital Partners.

Levenson and Peskowitz purchased the Atlanta Hawks along with Atlanta Spirit, LLC in 2004 and owned the team and its arena for 12 years ( In 2015 Levenson and the other owners elected to sell their shares to Tony Ressler’s group. Just one year prior Levenson had taken the team to the Holocaust Memorial Museum where he’s been involved with programs for young people and also has had his wife come in to tell her story. Levenson once wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consult with then Secretary of State John Kerry about peace talk settlements regarding giving up some territories.

Visit Bruce Levensonā€˜s personal website: