Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Education Secretary has been no stranger to attention and criticism as a result of political donations made by her and her husband, Dick DeVos. In 2015, it was reported that the couple donated $5.3 million towards campaigns over the previous 5 years. However, the two are also known for their charitable contributions, which add up to almost $139 million.
Betsy DeVos has been at the forefront of the educational reform movement, and in a 2013 interview with the Philanthropy publication she discussed her journey over the years. She served on the board of Children First America as well as the American Education Reform Council during the 90s, both charities aiming to expand educational choices via vouchers and through tax credits. Betsy and her husband Dick were involved in passing the first charter-school bill in the state of Michigan in 1993
Besides her role with the charities, she has also been involved in politics for a long time, serving as chair of the Michigan Republican Party for a number of years. She started a political action committee named Great Lakes Education project, which promoted education reform through the expansion of charter schools in Michigan. The work of the committee was successful from 2001 to 2002, with friends suggesting that the movement be taken to a national level.
This was the beginning of her involvement with the American Federation for Children, as a result of needing a cohesive effort, due to the fact that advocacy, in order for it to succeed, needs for a lot of moving parts to be coordinated – such as identifying potential legislators and educating them about the issue, getting them elected, etc. The American Federation for Children is considered an umbrella organization, and is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children Action Fund, which is AFC’s political action committee.
Over the course of her career, she led a variety of party organizations, political action committees, and campaigns. When it comes to the business side of things, she is the chairman of the Windquest Group, which is a multi-company operating group designed to invest in clean energy, manufacturing and technology. The company was established by her and her husband back in 1989. The two are also chief investors as well as board members of Neurocore, which is a group of brain performance centers that offer biofeedback therapy for depression, autism, anxiety, and other disorders.
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