Richard DeVos

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This article is about Richard DeVos, Sr. For Richard DeVos, Jr., see Dick DeVos.
Richard DeVos
Born (1926-03-04) March 4, 1926 (age 89)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US
Known for Amway founder, owner of NBA's Orlando Magic
Net worth IncreaseUS$6.3 billion (February 2016)[1]
Religion Christian Reformed Church in North America
Spouse(s) Helen DeVos
Children Dick DeVos
Dan DeVos
Cheri DeVos-Vanderweide
Doug DeVos

Richard M. DeVos, Sr. (born March 4, 1926 in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is an American businessman, co-founder of Amway along with Jay Van Andel (company restructured as Alticor in 2000), and owner of the Orlando Magic NBA basketball team. In 2012, Forbes magazine listed him as the 60th wealthiest person in the United States, and the 205th richest in the world, with an estimated net worth of $5 billion.[2] At one point, he was one of the 10 wealthiest Americans.

Early life and education[edit]

DeVos was educated at Calvin College and is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He served in the military in World War II in the United States Army Air Corps.[3]


Books written by him include Compassionate Capitalism and Hope From My Heart: Ten Lessons For Life. The latter reflects his feelings after successfully undergoing a heart transplant operation in 1997. This was preceded by two heart-bypass operations in 1983 and 1992.[4] In 1975, DeVos published a book about his success, co-authored with Charles Paul Conn, titled Believe!.

Sports ownership[edit]

DeVos is the owner of the NBA team Orlando Magic, having bought the team in 1991.[5] DeVos bought the Magic for $85 million, he became interested in the team after an unsuccessful effort to acquire a Major League Baseball expansion franchise for Orlando.[6] DeVos also formerly owned the Orlando Solar Bears, Grand Rapids Griffins, and the Kansas City Blades, three International Hockey League franchises before that league folded; the Solar Bears and Blades were closed as a result of the league folding, while the Griffins moved to the American Hockey League, and are now under the ownership of Dan DeVos, one of Richard's sons. In 2011, it was announced that DeVos planned to revive the Solar Bears as an expansion franchise for the ECHL. The new franchise took the ice in October 2012.

DeVos asked Orange County, Florida, to help pay for the Orlando Magic's new arena using county funds and Dema Stobell's Corporation money. Amway pays for the naming rights to Amway Arena. The use of public money was controversial.[7]


He sat on the board of trustees of Northwood University and has been president of the Council for National Policy. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.[8] Additionally, he sits on the board of Christian Leaders Institute, a non-profit organization that is in over 158 countries [9] and offers Free Bible Training for people all over the world.[10]


With his wife, Helen, DeVos is a winner of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. He co-founded the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, an American conservative foundation and grant-making body in 1970.[11] It is based in Grand Rapids, MI.[12]

The DeVos' are known in their philanthropy for contributing to historic causes like Mount Vernon, and free-market think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and AEI. According to the DeVoses, however, the center core of their giving is local. “A focus of our philanthropy has always been our home area. We want to create an atmosphere for everyone to improve their circumstances while advancing our community, whether through Christian compassion, education, health care, or the arts.” [13]

The DeVoses have given money to organizations ranging from local schools to the regional symphony. According to the Philanthropy Roundtable their giving is "helping turn Grand Rapids, Michigan, into one of the livelier and healthier small cities in the U.S. When the couple won their Simon Prize in 2006 they distributed the award money to eight local organizations in western Michigan “whose leaders all demonstrated resourcefulness in helping people help themselves.”".[13]

The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation was in part responsible for funding the creation of the Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida.[14]

Political involvement[edit]

DeVos is a major donor to the US Republican Party and to conservative causes, including Focus on the Family, the American Enterprise Institute. DeVos has also supported the candidacies of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.[15][16] DeVos has served as a finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.[17]


In addition to Dan (owner of the Griffins), DeVos is the father of Richard Jr., Cheri, and Doug. Richard Jr. was the Republican Party nominee for governor of Michigan in 2006, but was defeated by the then incumbent governor, Jennifer Granholm.[18]

DeVos has made it his mission to bring the Christian Reformed Church in North America and Reformed Church in America, which split in 1857 and divided his grandparents, back together.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Richard DeVos March 2013
  2. ^ Forbes magazine profile of Richard DeVos Forbes. Retrieved March 2012.
  3. ^ The Possible Dream, by Charles Paul Conn, page 6
  4. ^ Levin, Doron (October 8, 1997). "Fate, patience bring DeVos a new heart: Amway cofounder back after journey for life". Detroit Free Press. 
  5. ^ "Orlando Team Sold". New York Times. 1991-09-20. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  6. ^ <>
  7. ^ "Nothing but the best for new arena: Look what your taxes helped buy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "National Constitution Center, Board of Trustees". National Constitution Center. 2010-07-26. Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  9. ^ "Christian Leaders Directory". Free Ministry Training - Ordination. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  10. ^ "Christian Leaders Institute". Christian Leaders Institute. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  11. ^ Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation
  12. ^ The Grantsmanship Center. "Funding State by State". The Grantsmanship Center. 
  13. ^ a b "Updates on Past Winners, 2001-2013". 
  14. ^ Sport Business - About the DeVos Foundation
  15. ^ Bennett, Laurie (26 December 2011). "The Ultra-Rich, Ultra-Conservative DeVos Family". Forbes. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (16 December 2012). "Michigan Effort Shows G.O.P. Sway in State Contests". NYT. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Richard M. DeVos, Sr.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "2006 Official Michigan General Election Results – Governor 4 Year Term (1) Position". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  19. ^ Knape, Chris (May 19, 2009). "At 83, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos prepares company's third generation, addresses church, gay-marriage concerns". Michigan Live.

External links[edit]