Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick DeVos are many things. They are lobbyists, reformers, investors, and philanthropists. Their philanthropy work has involved them dedicating most of their time in education. They have been actively involved in proposing and implementing education legislations to enhance the education system in the country. The DeVoses created a scholarship program known as Education-Choice Program that seeks to not only to make education accessible to every child but also to ensure they get quality education at the school of their choice.
The Education-Choice Program is a success with over 250,000 children in 17 states benefitting from the program. The movement has been well-embraced and has seen a significant increase of children enrolling in the program year on year. When asked what inspired her to embark on this journey, Betsy pointed out that her children who were at a school going age at the time “touched home.”
Their kids were privileged to attend any school they wished but unfortunately that was not the case for many other children. Betsy recalls visiting Potter’s House Christian School, “Paying tuition was a huge sacrifice for these parents. Our support started gradually by supporting individuals in that school and eventually grew into a larger commitment.”
As their passion for education grew, her husband Dick DeVos, decided to run for the State Board of Education in Michigan because he felt he could contribute a lot to the education sector in the state. He was elected in 1990, and that prompted Betsy to start a program that awarded scholarships to low-income families. “Since we had the privilege of sending our kids to the right schools, it only seemed fair that other parents shared the privilege,” Betty said.
Despite the fact that the program was fulfilling and helped many parents and children, it was too small scale and would not address the real problem. They decided to scale it up and hence the education-Choice Program was born. After failing to reform the state constitution to allow vouchers & tax-credit scholarships, Betsy started a political committee called the Great Lakes Education Project. The aim of the committee was to enhance education reforms through the increase of charter schools in the state.
Over the course of two years, the Michigan committee’s task proved successful that they opted to upscale it to a national level. Since influencing education reforms on a national scale is a much larger task requiring much more people including elected officials to pass legislation, they decided to form the America Federation for Children. It is an umbrella organization affiliated with multiple organizations aiming to reform education in the country.
The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of the leading cultural institutions in America. Recently this organization reached its goal of raising $50 million or more and now looks to raise up to $75 million as a result. By reaching its fundraising goals, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is now able to improve its operations, provide better training for its staff and management and also expand its events for others to see. In order for this organization to reach its fundraising goals it relied on the donations of a number of wealthy and influential individuals. One of these wealthy and influential people is businessman Dick DeVos. With his contributions as well as the others, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has now been able to establish itself as a premier institution of providing culture an entertainment for many people.
One of the main donors of the performing arts center is Dick DeVos who has made a number of contributions to artistic causes and organizations for many years. In fact Dick is a very passionate follower of the performing arts and therefore strives to make these types of organizations reach their potential. As well as making contributions to organizations that offer fine art and performing art exhibitions, he also holds contests. These contests offer many artists and performers the opportunity to show people their talents and also win incentives if they win the contests. Therefore DeVos has helped make artistic organizations improve in quality as well as make it easier for artists to be noticed.
Another one of DeVos’ charitable endeavors is education. He offers a number of scholarships which help students attend business school. With this program students will have the opportunity to get funding to complete this very beneficial educational program. Since this particular program is quite costly, DeVos offers students the opportunity to afford this program and receive a number of benefits. These include improved job opportunities, the ability to more easily reach their career goals and also help gain the knowledge necessary to become top executives at a number of companies and also start their own company. Dick also provides donations to business related causes. These include helping people acquire real estate in order to help start or expand their business. It also includes getting funds for scholarships to attend school and receive more business education as well.
Financial expert Charles Koch and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg facilitated an opinion and editor discussion panel. This took place Thursday evening on May 12. It addressed concerns about possible threat of free speech at universities located all across the nation.
One of the primary objectives of this op-ed evening was to advocate more tolerance of independent thinking. Koch and Bloomberg both spoke out, saying that college campuses should “stop stifling free speech and coddling intolerance for controversial ideas.” These two men addressed issues specifically pertaining to college campuses.
One form of speech control that now occurs on university sites is the implementation of “speech codes,” or use of “trigger warnings.” Other forms of regulating what people say on campus includes those related to “safe places” and microaggressions. Within all of three methods of trying to avoid offensiveness, controversial speakers are being declined invitations.
“By doing so, colleges are creating a climate of intellectual conformity that discourages open inquiry, debate and true learning,” said both Charles Koch and Bloomberg in their own way.
They also went on to say in their own way that colleges are attempting to increase the shielding of students from uncomfortable or offensive ideas. The warning concerning this by Koch, Bloomberg and others is that it could threaten the future of higher education. In addition, they say that it could also put a damper on the concept of living in a free and democratic society.
Both Charles Koch and Michael Bloomberg seem to advocate the belief that students should have an open and questioning mind. This type of education, as they appear to be saying, would be better for students than if they were to have closed and self-righteous minds.
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