To me, Dick DeVos was simply the President of the Windquest Group and husband of Betsy DeVos, little did I know that he is also a man with a long-standing executive career and active philanthropist. He began his career at his father’s company, Amway, in 1974 but left in 1991 to serve as President and CEO of Orlando Magic. He then returned to Amway in 1993 to follow in his father’s footsteps as President of the company until 2002. DeVos left to launch and serve as President of the Windquest group and step out of Richard Sr.’s shadow. However, he has kept with family tradition when it comes to charitable donations, making them great in number and great in impact.
Dick DeVos has placed a heavy focus on education, with 26% of his charitable donations in 2015 going towards education and yet another 3% to organizations that support education reform as he does. DeVos has made it his ambition to aide in making a quality education something every student has access to, instead of something dependent on the zip code. He and his family take much care in checking the quality of the schools to which they donate to encourage and uphold this high education standard. One way in particular that they have done so is by launching an aviation-themed charter school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy, in 2010. The school provides education on STEM, aeronautical engineering, and aviation robotics to provide the students with a specific and highly employable skillset. Of the students, a third are economically disadvantaged and 40% are classified as minorities, and all are chartered to the school from the 7 surrounding counties. The academy has a graduation rate of an impressive 86% yet DeVos is more impressed by the profoundly positive impact it has on the students’ lives and by reaching the standards of the parents.
Almost equal in importance to Dick DeVos are his contributions to arts and culture. 21% of his charitable donations were in support of arts and culture in 2015. Twenty-two million was given for the express purpose of creating the DeVos Institute of Arts Management for the University of Maryland. He sought to improve the standing of the importance arts management in the arts community, believing that the business aspect is prominent in the success of the global art community. He and Betsy also secured the recruitment of a top physician and researcher in childhood cancer with their donation to the Spectrum Health Foundation. This led to a substantial increase in the survival rate of the children treated at the Helen DeVos Children Hospital for their brain cancer. Dick DeVos and his family not only provide monetary gifts but often play an active role in how those gifts are used in order to make them have a greater purpose.
Eric Pulier is an entrepreneur, technologist, published author, columnist and a philanthropist. He has raised huge amounts of money to enhance operations in various companies, including US Interactive, Digital Evolution, Akana, Media Platform, ServiceMesh, Desktone, and the Enterprise Leadership Council. Eric Pulier has also invested in charitable organizations and venture capital funds such as Trident Capital, Monitor Ventures, and eCompanies. He has actively invested in multiple start-ups in the fields of technology and media. Most of these firms have gone on to be successful. He is a member of the board of the Painted Turtle, a summer camp that supports children with chronic diseases.
Pulier started programming computers in fourth grade. By the time he was getting to high school, he had already established his own database computer company. Eric enrolled at the prestigious Harvard University. He served as an editor for The Harvard Crimson weekly, and was the author of PulierLeg, a weekly column on The Harvard Crimson. Pulier’s boundless career saw him get involved with the government where he was chosen to conceive and run the “Bridge to the 21st Century” event for Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s 2nd inauguration. Pulier displayed the effects of the exponential technologies on people’s lives in the near future. In addition, he organized an unprecedented display of the live event from the space shuttle. This situation made him famous. Eric was featured on news stations all over America. He was appointed by Morley Winograd, the chief domestic policy advisor of the president, to the board of the Center for Telecommunications Management at the USC Marshall School.
Eric Pulier actively contributes to philanthropic initiatives in the community, especially endeavors that focus on technology. Some of the initiatives that he has been involved with are the US Doctors for Africa, Clinton Global Initiative, and the ACE Foundation. XPRIZE foundation is one of Pulier’s most successful start-ups. The non-profit organization aims to encourage technological development that benefits mankind through organized public competitions. He designed Starbright World, Starlight Foundation’s project to support children with chronic illness. He developed this project from concept to production. Eric is the co-author of Understanding Enterprise SOA, and The Enterprise Industrial Complex.
Math teachers get frustrated. They want to help their students individually but understand that there is honestly not enough time to do that. In order to help a teacher help a student, Alexei Beltyukov came up with an idea. An idea he calls SOLVY.
What SOLVY does is gives a place that teachers can go and post homework assignments based on their interests and needs. The student does the homework and if they need extra attention, SOLVY informs the teacher.
It is currently available for Algebra One classes. Alexei Beltyukov stated his goal for the company as, “We want to make it easier for teachers to understand and manage their students’ progress and offer them developmental feedback when outside of the classroom” (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/alexei-beltyukov-to-launch-solvy-at-edsurge-conference-in-los-angeles-300071786.html).
Alexei Beltyukov is a Russian entrepreneur and philanthropist who believe in the need for education. He started out life as a doctor but with the recession he was unable to make ends meet, living in a run-down apartment with his wife and the cockroaches.
They took a chance and before he knew it, he had graduated from ISEAD, a business school with campuses throughout Europe. His multiple successes since graduating has allowed him to help students who are enrolling to ISEAD University in Russia. They can apply for a Russian Alumni scholarship that he helped create.
Sometimes the education goes beyond school. For this, he gives guidance through the Skolkovo Foundations, where he is the Vice President of the organization, a company that provides help for start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to expand throughout Russia. He is able to use is life experiences as the founder of several companies, including A-Ventures, Mecanicus, Endemic Capital, and of course, SOLVY. According to Angel.co, Alexei Beltyukov sees a need and he fills it. When it comes to education, sometimes that need is just to help the students succeed. Thanks to Alexei Beltyukov and SOLVY, we can now do that.