Obviously fundraising is important, especially when budgets are cut or a service is in desperate need. Even our national centers need updating to preserve them so they can provide opportunities for future generations. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 1971, sees nearly 3 million visitors a year. It has been many years since the doors to the center opened and now the center is in need of expansion. The newly approved expansion will create new spaces for classrooms, studios, rehearsals, and events. Three new pavilions will be built, this will expand the center by 72,000 square feet thanks to the philanthropy of the generous donors like the DeVos family.
In 2013 the campaign started with the goal of raising $100 million for the new expansion and another $25 million in funds for programming initiatives. According to Deborah Rutter, the Kennedy Center President, the entire project will be funded through donations. Ms. Rutter hopes the contributions will be a testament to the passion that Americans have for the performing arts.
Not only did a few influential Americans come through, they helped superseded the goal of $125 million and pushed it to $135.9 million. Instead of ending the campaign, the center has upped the targeted amount by another $50 million to include offices, a dining space, and a pedestrian bridge linking the riverfront pavilion with the Kennedy Center. This is attributed to a generous donation from The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.
Dick DeVos is the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, who was once the CEO of the distribution company. Dick studied business administration at Northwood University and Harvard Business School. DeVos received honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University and is a distinguished Alumni at Northwood. In 1974 he became an invaluable asset to the Amway Corporation and took the company further by opening up markets and tripling international sales. Eventually, Dick left to pursue his own business. He also founded West Michigan’s first aviation high school as he is an avid pilot himself and wanted to give ample opportunities to learn the trade to those less fortunate. Check out his helicopter landing in the video below where he shows students of his school how to safely pilot the aircraft in downtown Grand Rapids.
In 1990 DeVos and his wife started the Dick and Betsy Family Foundation, a Grand Rapids foundation that donates thousands of dollars to artistic , educational, community, civic, religious, and free market economic organizations. DeVos believes giving should be centered in five important areas education, community, justice, leadership , and the arts.
To get recent news about Dick in both the business and philanthropic worlds, click the following link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dickd