The Work and Financial Giving of Betsy DeVos

Typically, when I think of politicians, I think of people who don’t really care about giving back to the community. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Betsy DeVos is ethical and actually gives a lot. For example, Betsy DeVos and her family have donated an impressive $1 billion so far. Actually, just a few years ago in 2013 they gave $90 million. Perhaps even more interesting is the breakdown of the percentages of what they’ve given. Half went to educational causes. About 13% went to faith institutions, 25% to health and community services, and a nice 12% to the arts. Follow Betsy DeVos on

DeVos pioneered a program that helped kids in lower income communities increase their attendance rate by 30%. I wish that kind of help was available in my local community. Through her partnership with faith organizations, she helped people access basic shelter and food needs, have showers, get hired and even get their driver’s license, as well as other basic needs that many of us take for granted. Take, for instance, the case of Mel Trotter. She was homeless but thanks to the help of Betsy DeVos she was able to turn her life into a success story just 40 days later. DeVos is also a co-chair on the board of the Education Freedom Fund, and that has been since way back in 1993. This seems like a proper background for someone who is the Secretary of Education. This program helps kids in Michigan get scholarship money. And if that isn’t enough, when the Children’s Scholarship Fund offered up $7.5 million, she matched every penny of it with her own money. It’s not often you find someone willing to do that.

DeVos also supported Kids First which assists parents in getting credits for taxes when they want more choices for their children’s education. Together with her husband Dick, Betsy DeVos has done so much for education and children, including Children First America, Choices for Children, and American Education Reform Council. Furthermore, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation helps hospitals. There are a number of success stories in which students had help from the DeVos family to go to higher education. Examples include getting their MA, MS, and even MBA degrees. If they are involved in some kind of startup or other business, there are funds available for that too. Finally, what really struck me as great about Betsy DeVos is that she helped to revitalize Detroit by bringing young people together with career politicians and business leaders to discuss solutions to common community problems that affect everybody. Imagine the next generation of young people, having better education, choices, and the experience to bring goodness into the new innovations and solutions they come up with.

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Charles Koch Shares Wisdom from His Father

Primarily known for diverse petroleum products, Koch Industries’ largest subsidiaries include Georgia-Pacific, Invista, and Molex. With an annual revenue of 115 billion dollars, Koch Industries is the second-largest privately owned company in the United States and employs 100,000 people worldwide. Charles Koch has been the CEO of Koch Industries since 1967, and in his 50 years as CEO, Koch Industries’ revenue has increased by early 250 times, and its holdings expanded far beyond petroleum production and refining.

Charles attributes his work ethic to his father who he says had him start learning the value of hard work at an early age. Not wanting his sons to become “country club bums,” Fred Koch was especially hard on Charles. Fred sent his son out to the field to pull up dandelions at the age of six, and as he grew, the work grew harder. Charles has described a youth spent cleaning barn stalls, digging post holes, and baling hay. In addition to physical labor, education was made a priority, and Charles received both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from MIT.

When Fred Koch’s health started to fail, he asked Charles to be his successor in heading his company, Rock Island Oil & Refining Company. If Charles did not accept, Fred would sell the company.

After his father’s passing, Charles Koch found a letter in a safety deposit box dating back to 1936. The letter detailed how Charles and his brothers would receive “what seems like a large sum of money,” when they turned 21 which they were to use as they wanted, whether to squander or use as a “tool for accomplishment.” The money was, in a way, a test of their character to see if they had the work ethic and the drive to use the gift as a tool to grow. The letter advises them that “adversity is often a blessing in disguise and is certainly the greatest character builder.” He closes the letter with a reminder to “be good to [their] mother.” After 50 years heading one of the wealthiest companies in the United States, Charles still keeps the letter framed in his office, his father’s wisdom used to guide him through his life.

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