A Legacy of Giving

A Legacy of Giving

Rich’s wife, Helen, never could have imagined how many lives would be blessed when she insisted as a newlywed that the couple set aside 10 percent of their income for causes near to their hearts.

“We had the joy of giving away money,” Rich often said, “from the first days of our marriage.”

Because of their Christian belief in “tithing ”– returning at least a tenth of the Lord’s blessings to His work and people in need – more people around the world heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and churches grew stronger in their missions.  Inner city and native American children as well as college and university students have had opportunities for better educations, non-profit organizations were able to raise more funds and serve more people, and more children received better medical care.

Photo Gallery: A Legacy of Giving

Raising Funds and Awareness

Rich and "The Waltons" actor Richard Thomas at an Easter Seals telethon in the 1980s. Rich made appearances on several telethons in support of Amway's sponsorship of the organization.

From the Heart

Rich and Helen with Lena and Fred Meijer, at the dedication of the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids in 2004. Rich was passionate about supporting health care and was engaged in giving and fundraising efforts for a number of facilities.

Support for Youth

Rich and Helen were long time supporters of Rehoboth and Zuni Christian Schools, which were founded by the Christian Reformed Church in 1903 as ministries to the Native American people in Gallup and Zuni, New Mexico.

Breaking New Ground

Rich, Helen and Calvin College President Gaylen Byker at the groundbreaking for the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex at Calvin in 2007.

Giving Hope a Home

Rich and Helen at the dedication ceremony for the fieldhouse at Hope College. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation gave a lead gift for the facility, inspiring other major donations.

Honoring Helen

Rich at a 2007 event honoring Helen's many years of service to the Grand Rapids Symphony. She was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her contributions to the organization.

Urban Leadership

Rich at the 2007 DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative National Conference in Orlando, Florida. Over 1,000 youth workers from 32 cities have completed the 15-month training program since its inception in 1998.

Encouraging the Next Generation

Rich spoke to a group at Grand Rapids Christian High School. Rich was grateful for his experience at the school, where he was encouraged to pursue his leadership abilities by Dr. Leonard Greenway, a Bible teacher.

Driven to Give

Rich and Helen in a Model A Ford, which Rich described as very much like the one Jay Van Andel owned in the 1940s and in which Rich rode to and from school. This car sits in the lobby of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center of Arts and Worship on the campus of Rich's alma mater, Grand Rapids Christian High School.

The Gift of Health

Helen at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids in 2006. Rich and Helen's children and their families gave the lead gifts to build the hospital in honor of their mother.

Inspiring Change

Rich not only created positive change by giving generously to causes he and Helen believed in, he was also a catalyst for change by inspiring others.

The Value of Education

Rich believed strongly that the solid foundation of faith and education he received as a student at Grand Rapids Christian High School helped shape his life and career. He and Helen went on to generously support Christian education in Grand Rapids as well as in New Mexico.

The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has granted more than $1 billion to major projects at churches, schools, hospitals and arts organizations. But people also have related stories about how Rich’s compassion for individuals in need prompted him to buy furniture for a wounded Vietnam War veteran and his new wife or ensure a small hospital in Fiji was updated with modern medical equipment.

Driven by the Biblical principle that to whom much is given much is expected and by his Christian conviction that tithing can help do God’s work on earth, much of Rich and Helen’s giving has focused on Christian organizations and spreading the Gospel. His first major project was his three decades as chairman and principal supporter of Gospel Films, a producer and distributor of Christian films worldwide.

One of the most significant contributions for Rich was his and Helen's giving to Grand Rapids Christian Schools, including the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship. Rich said he was gratified to support the high school where a positive atmosphere helped set the course of his successful life. As a Christian who also appreciated the power of communication, he gave the lead gift along with his wife Helen to build a communication arts and sciences center at Calvin College, a Christian college in Grand Rapids he attended briefly and from which she obtained her teaching degree.

Realizing children are our future, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has been generous to many causes including activities and services for children in Orlando and Central Florida; a school in Gallup and Zuni, New Mexico and Lusaka, Zambia; the field house at Hope College; the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University; and major funding to establish the Helen DeVos Women's and Children’s Hospital, which later became the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

While neither he nor Helen sought or expected recognition, their communities expressed appreciation for their generosity with accolades including the William E. Simon Award in Philanthropic Leadership and the Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year honor from Ernst & Young, among many others.

Video: A Commitment to Give

A Tradition of Tithing

Rich explained how he and Helen started tithing, setting aside 10 percent to give back. To them it was always "the Lord's money."  They never claimed it as their own, and therefore never felt like they were giving anything up.

With countless worthy causes, Rich said he and Helen carefully considered each opportunity and prayed for wisdom to invest in things that truly matter – human lives and eternity – and to ensure their giving would be used according to God’s will. “The Lord has enabled me to have financial success, and I don’t apologize for the success I’ve received,” he said. “But whether you have a little or a lot, something miraculous happens when you tithe.”

“We had the joy of giving away money,” Rich often said, “from the first days of our marriage.”

Because of their Christian belief in “tithing ”– returning at least a tenth of the Lord’s blessings to His work and people in need – more people around the world heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and churches grew stronger in their missions.  Inner city and native American children as well as college and university students have had opportunities for better educations, non-profit organizations were able to raise more funds and serve more people, and more children received better medical care.

Photo Gallery: A Legacy of Giving

Raising Funds and Awareness

Rich and "The Waltons" actor Richard Thomas at an Easter Seals telethon in the 1980s. Rich made appearances on several telethons in support of Amway's sponsorship of the organization.

From the Heart

Rich and Helen with Lena and Fred Meijer, at the dedication of the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids in 2004. Rich was passionate about supporting health care and was engaged in giving and fundraising efforts for a number of facilities.

Support for Youth

Rich and Helen were long time supporters of Rehoboth and Zuni Christian Schools, which were founded by the Christian Reformed Church in 1903 as ministries to the Native American people in Gallup and Zuni, New Mexico.

Breaking New Ground

Rich, Helen and Calvin College President Gaylen Byker at the groundbreaking for the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex at Calvin in 2007.

Giving Hope a Home

Rich and Helen at the dedication ceremony for the fieldhouse at Hope College. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation gave a lead gift for the facility, inspiring other major donations.

Honoring Helen

Rich at a 2007 event honoring Helen's many years of service to the Grand Rapids Symphony. She was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her contributions to the organization.

Urban Leadership

Rich at the 2007 DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative National Conference in Orlando, Florida. Over 1,000 youth workers from 32 cities have completed the 15-month training program since its inception in 1998.

Encouraging the Next Generation

Rich spoke to a group at Grand Rapids Christian High School. Rich was grateful for his experience at the school, where he was encouraged to pursue his leadership abilities by Dr. Leonard Greenway, a Bible teacher.

Driven to Give

Rich and Helen in a Model A Ford, which Rich described as very much like the one Jay Van Andel owned in the 1940s and in which Rich rode to and from school. This car sits in the lobby of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center of Arts and Worship on the campus of Rich's alma mater, Grand Rapids Christian High School.

The Gift of Health

Helen at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids in 2006. Rich and Helen's children and their families gave the lead gifts to build the hospital in honor of their mother.

Inspiring Change

Rich not only created positive change by giving generously to causes he and Helen believed in, he was also a catalyst for change by inspiring others.

The Value of Education

Rich believed strongly that the solid foundation of faith and education he received as a student at Grand Rapids Christian High School helped shape his life and career. He and Helen went on to generously support Christian education in Grand Rapids as well as in New Mexico.

The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has granted more than $1 billion to major projects at churches, schools, hospitals and arts organizations. But people also have related stories about how Rich’s compassion for individuals in need prompted him to buy furniture for a wounded Vietnam War veteran and his new wife or ensure a small hospital in Fiji was updated with modern medical equipment.

Driven by the Biblical principle that to whom much is given much is expected and by his Christian conviction that tithing can help do God’s work on earth, much of Rich and Helen’s giving has focused on Christian organizations and spreading the Gospel. His first major project was his three decades as chairman and principal supporter of Gospel Films, a producer and distributor of Christian films worldwide.

One of the most significant contributions for Rich was his and Helen's giving to Grand Rapids Christian Schools, including the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship. Rich said he was gratified to support the high school where a positive atmosphere helped set the course of his successful life. As a Christian who also appreciated the power of communication, he gave the lead gift along with his wife Helen to build a communication arts and sciences center at Calvin College, a Christian college in Grand Rapids he attended briefly and from which she obtained her teaching degree.

Realizing children are our future, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has been generous to many causes including activities and services for children in Orlando and Central Florida; a school in Gallup and Zuni, New Mexico and Lusaka, Zambia; the field house at Hope College; the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University; and major funding to establish the Helen DeVos Women's and Children’s Hospital, which later became the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

While neither he nor Helen sought or expected recognition, their communities expressed appreciation for their generosity with accolades including the William E. Simon Award in Philanthropic Leadership and the Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year honor from Ernst & Young, among many others.

Video: A Commitment to Give

A Tradition of Tithing

Rich explained how he and Helen started tithing, setting aside 10 percent to give back. To them it was always "the Lord's money."  They never claimed it as their own, and therefore never felt like they were giving anything up.

With countless worthy causes, Rich said he and Helen carefully considered each opportunity and prayed for wisdom to invest in things that truly matter – human lives and eternity – and to ensure their giving would be used according to God’s will. “The Lord has enabled me to have financial success, and I don’t apologize for the success I’ve received,” he said. “But whether you have a little or a lot, something miraculous happens when you tithe.”

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Services

Information on events to celebrate the life of Rich DeVos.

Tributes to Rich DeVos

People from all around the world have shared memories, stories and messages about the impact Rich DeVos had on them.

Rich DeVos believed that true wealth came from spirituality and family. Thank you for choosing to donate to one of the organizations Rich supported in his lifetime.