DeVos Philanthropy

A Legacy of Philanthropy:

The Richard and Helen DeVos Family

Rich DeVos joined the Butterworth Hospital Board of Trustees in 1980. This was one of his first steps in helping to shape the health care landscape of West Michigan.

As the number of children’s specialists in the Grand Rapids area grew, so did the vision for building a children’s hospital in West Michigan. Rich and Helen DeVos donated $5 million to demonstrate their commitment to children, and the new 10-story center tower was renamed the Helen DeVos Women and Children’s Center in 1993. Since that time Rich and Helen DeVos and their family have remained steadfast in their commitment to children and families and provided great inspiration to the physicians, nurses and staff caring for children.

Thanks to the vision and determination of Rich DeVos, the merger of Butterworth Health Corporation and Blodgett Memorial Medical Center became a reality. Spectrum Health was formed September 19, 1997, almost a year after the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Michigan issued its October 1996 opinion approving the merger. Rich DeVos had the foresight to see that the combined strength of these two organizations would create something positive and unprecedented for our region.

The landscape on Michigan Street in Grand Rapids has changed forever— Spectrum Health facilities have been joined by the city’s renowned research, higher education and medical education partners. The Medical Mile is home to the Spectrum Health Medical Center, Spectrum Health Medical Group, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University. This health care hub represents a decade of investment and reflects the community collaboration of physicians, researchers and educators who now have the facilities and resources to do their vital work of bringing world-class health care to West Michigan.

In 2006, a $100 million campaign was launched with a $50 million combined gift from the children of Rich and Helen DeVos. Dick, Dan, Cheri and Doug with their families to honor their parents and their values. Their thoughtfully considered reasons were articulated as follows:

Honor:  to honor their parents for being examples to their children and the community
Impact:  to continue the tradition of having a positive impact on people’s lives, including countless children
Values:  to share the values of their parents and this community, which creates a caring environment of hope and healing
Inspire:  to inspire others to give back as they have been inspired by their parents and the community

This extraordinary lead gift served as an inspiration for another 6,000 donors to support the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, which opened on January 11, 2011, and marked a new era in children’s health care for West Michigan. The 212-bed, 14-floor facility represents more than four decades of steady progress in improving pediatric care and bringing pediatric specialists to the region.

Rich and Helen DeVos helped Spectrum Health take another major step to advance clinical care with the creation of the Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program in 2010, which was established with a generous gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

The DeVos Family continues to enrich the West Michigan community with its leadership, volunteerism, and generosity.