Dick DeVos Makes Large Donation to Kennedy Center

According to the Washington Business Journal, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. has been terrifically successful in raising money for its expansion.

They published a list of the largest donors, and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation contributed $1 million to the Kennedy Center expansion project.

The Kennedy Center began raising the funds in 2013 with a goal of raising a total of $125 million. That’s $100 million to expand the center and $25 million for new initiatives in the center’s programming. Because of scrutiny by federal agencies, the plans changed over the next two years and the cost of the planned expansion went up to $119.5 million.

The expansion includes a riverfront pavilion and a pedestrian bridge linking the pavilion to the Kennedy Center itself. It also includes expanding the Center, so it has more space for educational programs, rehearsals and offices.

The center has now locked up a total of $135.9 million, which covers all the original plans including the increased costs.

However, having achieved such success, they’ve expanded their expansion plans, and expect to raise another $50 million. They hope to open the full, new facility in 2018.

The Expansion and the riverwalk will function as a new entrance to the center. The Kennedy Center opened in September 1971, and now gives performing arts shows to over 3 million visitors a year.

Dick DeVos is a successful businessperson, author, philanthropist and political activist. His father, Richard DeVos, co-founded the direct sales company Amway, and Dick DeVos also worked there for many years. As vice president in charge of overseas sales, he greatly expanded the company into many other companies around the world. In six years overseas sales grew from 5 percent of the company to over half of its overall sales revenue. He spent several years as president and CEO of Orlando Magic. He returned to Amway, and eventually replaced his father as president. Then he left Amway to run his own private investment firm, the Windquest Group.

Windquest Group has holdings in technology and manufacturing companies, including The Green Machine, which converts heat wasted during manufacturing processes and turns it into electricity. DeVos has said energy sustainability was an economic as well as an environmental concept. He has expressed concern that some new green products were not economically sustainable because they were too dependent on tax subsidies or incentives.

DeVos ran for the governor of Michigan in 2006 on the Republican ticket, but lost the election.