Through generous giving, Helen and Rich DeVos supported projects around the world
A legacy of giving
Helen DeVos never could have imagined how many lives would be blessed when she insisted as newlyweds that she and Rich 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 education. Non-profit organizations were able to raise more funds and serve more people, and more children received better medical care.
Driven by faith and compassion
The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has generously supported major projects at churches, schools, hospitals and arts organizations. But people also have related stories about how Helen and Rich’s compassion for individuals in need prompted them 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 their Christian conviction that tithing can help do God’s work on earth, much of Helen and Rich’s giving focused on Christian organizations and spreading the Gospel. Their first major project Gospel Films, a producer and distributor of Christian films worldwide where Rich served three decades as chairman and principal supporter.
As Christians who also appreciated the power of communication, Helen and Rich gave the lead gift to build a communication arts and sciences center at Calvin University, a Christian university in Grand Rapids where Helen obtained her teaching degree and Rich attended briefly.
Investing in children
One of the couple’s most significant contributions was 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.
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; schools in Gallup and Zuni, New Mexico, and in 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.
Grounded in faithHelen lived her life with strength, grace and a very present faith that guided everything she did.Read about the importance of Helen’s faith
Each gift was prayerfully considered
While neither Helen nor Rich sought or expected recognition, their communities expressed appreciation for their generosity with accolades. With countless worthy causes, Helen and Rich 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.
“I learned from an early age to live my life grounded in faith,” Helen said.