Betsy Devos Excellence in Philanthropy Interview Recap

Republican reformer Betsy DeVos, previously known as Elizabeth Prince, along with her husband Dick DeVos, has spearheaded political campaigns, committees and organizations in addition to business and educational foundations to support various causes. Her philanthropy ranges from founding a group that supports manufacturing, technology and clean energy to educational organizations that seek complete educational choice.

 

Aside from her most popular advocacy seen in the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice, DeVos has been chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Windquest Group and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Mars Hill Bible Church, DeVos Institute for Arts at the Kennedy Center and Kids Hope USA.

 

DeVos’s most extensive philanthropy is in educational reform, a zeal which seems to have begun in childhood. She attended the Christian Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan’s Dutch community. Reformed groups are known for their opposition to the Netherlands’ public schools.

 

In the spring of 2013, Philanthropy Roundtable sat down with DeVos for an interview about her role in educational choice, which to her includes charters,private entities, homeschooling and even educational technology.

Philanthropy first asked DeVos’s opinion of school choice progress since Milton Friedman’s “The Role of Government in Education” was written. DeVos voiced that private school entities are on the rise,especially as citizens witness public schools failing. They are becoming more open to what used to be radical reforms that provide financial assistance for families, allowing them to choose and afford alternatives to public schools.

Her advocacy for reform was greatly inspired by a desire to assist low-income families with paying for private schools as she and Dick were raising school-aged children at the time. The sympathy spurred them to visit Potter’s House Christian School, to which the Devos’s provide significant support.

Soon she was able to pass a charter school bill in 1993, although her 2000 attempt to create vouchers and tax credits was to no avail. Even so, the Great Lakes Educational Project that resulted fostered the creation of more charter schools throughout Michigan.

The DeVoses’ work turned into the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice. They saw most success in Florida, Indiana and Louisiana.

Philanthropy did comment that the three aforementioned states were run by “reform-minded Republican governors,” which doesn’t represent DeVos’s bipartisan interest.

To address the bipartisan issue, DeVos stated that what began as a Republican backed cause has gained momentum in the Democratic arena.

She provides the example of Louisiana, where reform is sponsored by democrats. She went on to use the state as an example when asked about grassroots success. In Louisia, she worked with radio stations, called citizens and worked alongside community and church groups to inform everyone about Gov. Jendal’s voucher pilot program.

In response to Philanthropy’s question, DeVos asserts that, yes, technology is one aspect of educational choice because of its ability to make learning fun and considering how quickly children learn technology.

 

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How Dick and Betsy DeVos is Making a Difference in Children’s Education

Betsy DeVos sees the work that she and her husband do as a holistic effort to make education in the United States better for all, not just for those who can afford to pay for it. There are many layers to the work that they do. First, they know that by working within government and across the party lines they can exact change at a national level. However, they also know that some of the most direct and fastest acting change can be accomplished at a local level by working directly through local school systems and even in individual schools.

 

For example, both Betsy and Dick DeVos are extremely involved in one school that is near and dear to their hearts: Potters House Christian School. This school is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the majority of the students there are from low income families in the area. Many of these families are gravely concerned with just keeping their children safe and out of trouble. Most of these families are located within a certain school district and those families don’t have the option to send their children outside of that district.

 

The DeVos’s saw the true need at Potter’s House Christian School and wanted to take it upon themselves to do everything they could to meet those needs. The couple started by sponsoring one child a year’s tuition to attend the school, giving those children a chance at a better education. However, the two saw the benefit those children received and knew they wanted to do more. Since then, they have continued to sponsor multiple children’s tuition and then began to sponsor programs at the school and fund specific needs such as refurbishments and necessary items. Since then, they have grown to become some of the school’s largest donors.

 

The DeVos’s are extremely passionate about giving families multiple options outside of their “district.” They do not believe in the district system, as it often hinders families from the best educational opportunities for their children.

 

Their goal is to bring the ability for families to have these options on a national scale, including the ability to select charter schools that may not lie within a certain district that the parents happen to live in.

 

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Senator Warren and End Citizens United Team up in Ambitious Goal

Progressives and moderates around the United States have been united in their focus on a constitutional amendment that has fundamentally broken the way that Washington D.C. works: the Citizens United decision. Citizens United, conservative group, fought for the loosening of regulation and restriction when it came to donations during campaigns. Their goal was ostensibly to open up the ‘freedom’ to donate as much support as possible. The more practical and intended reality was this: Citizens United wanted to open up campaign financing in order to allow big spending corporate donors to fund the Republican party. This should make anyone mad because it is a subversion of our very democracy. The political action committee (PAC) End Citizens United has been uniquely focused on overturning this dangerous legislation.

 

Tiffany Muller, the President and lead adviser at End Citizens United, has been one of the most successful individuals in terms of actually attacking the problem of Citizens United. There have been countless PACs and groups that have sought to get rid of this constitutional amendment but the vast majority of them have failed due to one reason or another. We credit the election of Donald Trump with the rise in End Citizens United’s successful funding levels. People are justifiably angry that Donald Trump is sitting in the most prestigious office on the planet. This has led to an influx in donations to the End Citizens United PAC. In fact, nearly 100,000 people donated to End Citizens United during the opening quarter of 2017. Of that number, nearly 40% of these donors were giving money for the first time. This is the greatest measure to showcase just how politically active and expedient people are becoming.

 

End Citizens United knows what few other attempts had known: that real change must happen via supporting progressive politicians. In order to take a real swing at Citizens United there will need to be legislators sitting at the highest offices on Capitol Hill. That is why Tiffany Muller and the End Citizens United team have begun to endorse candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is a vocal anti-Citizens united politician who has spent the majority of her career trying to help regular Americans shrug off the shackles of corporate donors and special interests. Warren says, “As long as the Citizens United ruling remains in effect, our democracy is in real danger.”

 

Warren has always been vocal in her displeasure toward current campaign financing standards. Senator Warren wants to put an end to billionaires and millionaires swaying elections, subverting the will of the people. Warren wants to put forth a constitutional amendment in order to get rid of Citizens United — something End Citizens United is fully behind with support.

The Objectives and Capabilities of End Citizens United

End Citizens United refers to an ordinary Political Action Team devoted to revolutionizing the way we finance our campaigns strategies nationally. It also stands for the Citizens United. The new-fangled political action committee aims at being a giant participant in the year 2016.

 

Despite the fact that the group was launched this month, it has been capable of raising over $2 million. This amount emanates from the minor donors. The team’s objective is to generate between $25 million to $30 million for the complete phase.

 

It is important to understand the fact that the effect of wealthy donors transforming into an issue in the GOP primaries. The important objective of the team is to permit a constitutional adjustment.

 

Another important fact to acknowledge is that the Ted Cruz’s billionaire hedge fund sponsor emanates as the top 2016 benefactor. It is a big slab for a constitutional adjustment. This is according to John Wonderlich.

 

Other reasons behind the need for transformation is the fact that the competition based on money leaves out some potential candidates.

 

Another factor to consider is that the group raises $4 million, and plans $35, particularly for the midterms. At the moment, the political action committee poses a substantial amount. It also hopes to get an increased number of the elected Democrats.

 

The Washington’s End Citizens United is another committee with the objective to drive an increased amount of money out of the political arena. It is raising a substantial amount individually.

 

The group in the first three months of the year raised over $4 million. It plans to collect $35 million before the midterm elections of the year 2018. This ought to be a significant transformation from $25 million that the PAC received for the election of the year 2016.

 

Approximately 100,000 people gave their hand to the PAC in the course of the first quarter of this year. About 80% of the number who contributed for the first time. This is according to the PAC’s president as well as the executive director. The aim is to facilitate the election of campaign-finance reform winners.

 

The summation of the average contribution received by the PAC this year reaches $12. The feeling of the donors has the sense that the structure is rigged for those against them. They fight back through ensuring that the ones who are capable of putting down the prime checks earn their most desired wants.

 

I addition to the motion, Democrats are violent about the fact that President Trump won. They are therefore prepared to revenge against his nominees. Such includes the nomination of the Supreme Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch.