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The Entrepreneurial & Giving Spirit That Led to the Success of Amway

The Richard & Helen DeVos Estate

The Estate of Richard & Helen DeVos

From humble beginnings in the state of Michigan and guided by faith, Richard and Helen DeVos would make a big impact in business and community through hard work and a “can do” attitude. As children of the depression, each of their families experienced challenges but maintained positive attitudes and worked their way through setbacks to provide loving homes in which to grow up. It was during those formative years that Rich’s father and grandfather would provide the foundation for his positive energy and entrepreneurial fervor. Rich was an exuberant young man in Grand Rapids, where he met his lifelong friend and business partner, Jay Van Andel, in high school. Helen was born in Grand Rapids but spent her idyllic teen years a few hours north in a small lakeside town under the steady guidance of her educator parents. After graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids with a degree in education, Helen became a schoolteacher and met Rich, the confident young salesman.

Rich and Jay tried their hands at many business ventures from hamburger flipping to a flight school before finding their way to Nutrilite, a dietary supplement brand sold person-to-person, which would help form the framework that would go on to become the direct selling behemoth Amway. The company was built on a simple idea – giving people the opportunity to accomplish their goals through their own businesses selling quality products. Relying on his unique ability to connect with people, Rich became a champion of entrepreneurship and free enterprise. Today, Amway has grown to generate sales of $8.4 billion annually and, in doing so, has helped millions of people around the world to live better lives.

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From the very beginning of their married life, Helen insisted that the first 10% of their income go to the church. Helen enjoyed giving and seeing the difference their generosity could make in the lives of others. Over the years their benevolence supported a wide range of church and community related causes. Education, the arts, health care and local service organizations were all recipients of their generosity. Rich and Helen were particularly committed to the Grand Rapids Symphony; Christian schools in Grand Rapids, New Mexico, and Zambia; and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a state-of-the-art hospital that bears Helen’s name.

Both Helen and Rich were raised in families that prioritized faith and it was a constant at the center of their home, work and philanthropy throughout their lives.

In 1991, the family purchased the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association and began to serve their adopted community of Central Florida as they had in Grand Rapids. Rich brought his passion for competition and motivational spirit to the team, while cementing the organization firmly in the community through civic outreach.

Helen and Rich’s legacy is carried on by their loving family including children and spouses Dick and Betsy, Dan and Pamella, Cheri and Steve, and Doug and Maria with many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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The Richard & Helen DeVos Estate
The Richard & Helen DeVos Estate

The expansive estate features incredible home furnishings, fine jewelry, original works of art from notable artists, gold Krugerrands and decor from sought-after names like Stueben and Lalique. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the following organizations:

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Child Life Services
At Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, children come first. The “big blue building” was created to bring joy and happiness to patients and families during what can often be a very difficult time. The child life team plays a vital role in bringing happiness and a bit of “normal” to their days through play, imagination, and psychosocial support. This is especially important during the holiday season. Many children must spend their days in a hospital room, missing out on family gatherings, school parties, and enjoying time at home. The holiday party at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is an annual tradition that was started by Helen DeVos, who came to the hospital each December, often with her children and grandchildren, to bring joy and special gifts. Proceeds from this auction will establish the Rich and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Holiday Endowment to help provide children at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with a happier holiday season.

Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program
In 2010, the Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program was established at Spectrum Health. Patients who receive the gift of a heart or lung transplant have lengthy hospital stays—an average of 1-6 months—while they recover and prepare to go home. For those who are hospitalized over the holidays, this can be lonely and isolating. The incredible nurses who care for them are providing not only medical support, but often emotional support by honoring special days and making sure their needs are met. One example is a patient who wanted to give her grandchildren gifts for Christmas, and the nurses took up a collection and helped her shop online to make sure she had something to give them. Another patient was in the hospital through two of his own birthdays and every holiday in between. Proceeds from this auction will be used to establish the Rich and Helen DeVos Endowment for Transplant Patients’ and Families’ Celebrations, which will provide support for special celebrations and pick-me-ups.

The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation
The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) focuses on helping children in Central Florida realize their full potential, especially those most at risk, by supporting nonprofit agencies with programs that empower families and change lives. It is our mission to nourish the minds and bodies of children who need it most. This is a total
team effort, supported by the community and fueled by you, our fans.

In the past 30 years, over 500 local agencies have been funded, more than $25 million has been granted, with more than two million children positively impacted. With all administrative costs covered by the DeVos Family, 100 percent of donation to OMYF directly benefits underserved children and families throughout Central Florida.

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