There is absolutely no question that Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy changed the face of Grand Rapids, Michigan forever. The reason why this is important or even being discussed in the first place is because the pair are from that city. It is their hometown, and it is the first place that was impacted in a big way by the methods that the DeVos family uses. Put another way, had it not been for what the DeVos family did in Grand Rapids, they might not have continued to have the success that they so obviously have had throughout the remainder of their life.
The two did not exactly set out to change the entire landscape of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but that is how things worked out. What they saw at first was that the city was going to attempt to build a multi-sports complex with the hopes of attracting more tourism and dollars to the city. The DeVos family thought that this was a horrible idea primarily because they did not see any positive results coming out of this when other cities such as Detroit had attempted it in the past. They were concerned that the city was only looking at this from one narrow prospective, and they believed that by doing so, the city was actually reducing its chances of successfully its end goals.
Both DeVos family members began to lobby against the idea of building the sports center precisely because they knew that it would likely fail in Grand Rapids just as it had in so many other cities and towns in Michigan. They convinced enough people to agree with them on this issue, and the next thing you know, the city scrapped the plan to have the sports complex at all. It was as simple as that.
Instead of just celebrating their victory and moving on with life, the Dick and Betsy DeVos donated a large portion of their personal money to help build up other important structures in Grand Rapids including a new medical school building for the University of Michigan State. They did not want to just leave the city without developments that they agreed that it needed. Instead, they just wanted to make sure that the developments that did come along were ones that would actually be productive to the city and help it along on its course towards greater development going forward.
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