2021 Giving Report

In 2021, our foundation supported 129 nonprofit organizations, ranging from neighborhood-level efforts in our hometown of Grand Rapids to national and international organizations, impacting communities near and far.

What inspires our giving?

Our faith motivates our giving; it is integral to who we are and what we do. Following in the footsteps of our parents, we strive to be faithful stewards. Our giving is centered on cultivating leadership and accelerating transformation and focuses support in five areas: community, education, the arts, justice, and developing leadership.

Partnerships are the key to our success:

Capacity Building: Michigan Lakeshore

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management (DVIAM) at the University of Maryland is known nationally and internationally for providing premier training, consultation, and implementation support to arts managers and their boards. In order to provide cultural experiences to the community, thriving arts organizations need strong vision and sound business practices to sustain long-term appeal. DVIAM helps fill that void by cultivating leaders through its fellowship and capacity building programs.

In 2022, DVIAM launched its capacity building program in Holland to strengthen West Michigan arts and cultural institutions. "Capacity Building: Michigan Lakeshore" is a two-year strategic planning program for 15 arts and cultural organizations along the Lakeshore. The program will engage arts managers, artistic directors, and board members through in-person events and consultations for over 70 hours of learning and development over 24 months.

Our foundation is grateful for the opportunity to fund and support DVIAM. We believe arts and cultural organizations are generators of jobs, social cohesion, and understanding. Successful, sustainable arts and cultural organizations are essential to building strong and thriving communities.

Community: Vision To Learn

Based on its experience in other cities across the country, Vision To Learn estimates 3,000 low-income children in Grand Rapids attend school every day without the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, or participate in class. Students with untreated vision problems often struggle at school and are less likely to achieve reading proficiency by third grade, putting them at higher risk for dropping out.

Through a collaboration between Vision To Learn, Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), and the Kent County Health Department, every student in GRPS will receive a vision screening, eye exam, and, if needed, a pair of glasses, free of charge. The program brings optometry care directly to schools and children in need. Research by the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA found students who received glasses from Vision To Learn improved their grades and were more engaged in the classroom.

Our foundation was proud to support Vision To Learn’s expansion to Grand Rapids and help local students get the care and glasses they need to see and succeed.

Accelerating Transformation: Grand Rapids Whitewater

The Grand River flows through the heart of Grand Rapids, but the city’s namesake rapids have been missing for decades. Through strategic public and private partnerships, Grand Rapids Whitewater is restoring the river, returning it to a more natural state with a 16-foot drop, and activating 2.5 miles of the waterway through downtown.

With broad support from rowing and paddling clubs, anglers, businesses, and individuals, the project will improve the health and accessibility of the Grand River and catalyze economic growth. Grand Rapids Whitewater will remove five aging dams, install boulders and smaller rocks, reestablish historical spawning areas for fish, improve habitat for native aquatic species, and prevent invasive species from moving upstream. The $45 million restoration is slated to be completed by 2025.

We believe this project will reactivate the river, allowing greater access and recreation, and improve the health of a vital ecosystem and community resource. Moreover, the restoration will enable the city to integrate the Grand River into downtown, transforming how we live and work.