Betsy DeVos has been a permanent fixture in America’s public limelight. The accomplished businesswoman is one of the most aggressive education reformers in the country. Over the course of the last three decades, she has helped in the molding of education systems all around the country and, in the process, empowered hundreds of thousands of youths from different states and backgrounds. However, what people also do not know is that Betsy DeVos is one of the biggest philanthropists in the country. Through her direct contributions and indirect work with the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, she has been able to help an estimated 250 thousand students from 17 states access a higher quality education.
Betsy DeVos’ involvement in the education sector goes back approximately three decades. At first, she was simply a parent concerned about the state of public education in the country. Soon after, she decided to do something about it. She started providing scholarships and resources to high-performing but needy students and schools. She would, however, soon realize that the scholarships would not be sufficient in effecting the degree of change that she desired. At that point, she decided to take up advocacy and went on to become one of the most effective education reformers in the country.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation has been in operation since 1989. While the main purpose of the Foundation is to empower youths all around the country, it has maintained a strong faith-based focus. This is in line with the conservative values that Dick and Betsy both strongly believe in. It is, therefore, not surprising that a bulk of the Foundation’s support between 1999 and 2015, approximately $9 million, mainly went to Christian schools. Charter schools were a distant second receiving donations amounting to $5 million while public schools only received approximately $60 thousand. All in all, with lifetime donations standing at slightly over $100 million, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundations is one of biggest family-based philanthropic organizations in the country.
Betsy DeVos’ charitable contributions are not just restricted to the education sector. Her family’s Foundation is also focused on the arts, community, and leadership. For instance, in 2010, she gave the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts $22.5 million – one of the largest individual contributions the center has ever received. Further, she has been sponsoring an art competition for almost a decade now. Termed ArtPrize, the competition is held every year in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has a respectably high attendance rate. The competition has positively changed the lives of numerous artists through the $500 thousand in rewards that winners get and the high exposure that those who do not win also get.
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George Soros, listed 22 on Forbes magazine’s richest billionaire list, is now an estimated net worth of $ 25.2 billion. However, even though Soros has become a paramount financial figure in the media he had a humble beginning. As an advocate for hard work George Soros financed his education at London School of Economics by working as a railway porter and a waiter after fleeing from Hungary which was under Nazi control. He later moved to New York and found his way to Wall Street where he established his own hedge in 1969 with $12 million. He continued a string of smart financial and business decisions which led to the development of Soros Fund Management LLC which has an estimated $30 million of assets.
Soros is not only an advocate for hard work but is also an advocate for philanthropy. George Soros founded the Open Society Foundation in 1979 and has spent over $12 million in the promotion of positive change through the organization. The philosophy of Open Society Foundation is the promotion of democracy and equality as well as advocacy against social and political injustice. Soros’ first project was the provision of scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid, and he has continued his pursuit to make a difference in the lives of those in need by advocating for marginalized groups such as the LGBT community in the U.S.
After a break from political financing, Soros is back and in action. George Soros has been labeled the leading funder of the Democratic Party donating over $25 million to the political campaign of Hilary Clinton.
Soros, a friend of Clinton, has influenced other wealthy liberal donors ensuring her campaign is well funded. Due to ample monetary donations, the financial state of the Clinton campaign trumps that of the other party. The beliefs of the opposing party undermine Soros’ belief of democracy; therefore, he is very involved in supporting the Clinton campaign. By supporting Clinton George Soros continues to promote his life- long goals of equality and democracy. Learn more about his profile at businessinsider.com.
As a keen follower of the latest changes in the U.S. political system I have been impressed by the work completed by the End Citizens United PAC that is one of the youngest, but is also growing at a rate that is amazing for all to see. For myself, I have always found the Citizens United Supreme Court decision a difficult one to live with as I agree with End Citizens United that this piece of legislation took the political power and influence out of the hands of everyday working American’s and placed it firmly in the hands of a small group of wealthy donors.
End Citizens United is working within the confines of the current political system in a way I believe shows how the ethics of politics should be played out with the grassroots financial contributions capped at $50,000; in fact, during the first quarter of 2017 I was impressed to discover the End Citizens United campaign had received around $4 million in funding from its ever growing list of grassroots donors who are funding the group at a rate of $12 per average donation. The fact that of the 100,000 donations received by End Citizens United around 40,000 had been from new donors has also been a cause for happiness on behalf of people like myself who feel the work this PAC is completing is of great importance. Those in positions of importance at End Citizens United, including PAC President Tiffany Muller believe the need to fight back has never been felt as strongly as it has in recent months by everyday American’s who feel they wish to once again take control of their elections.
I feel End Citizens United have been buoyed by their success during the 2016 Presidential election season when around $25 million was raised to push forward the cause, the group is now looking to the 2018 midterm election season to make an even greater impact on U.S. politics. The goal of End Citizens United has now risen to $35 million, which the group hopes to raise to support candidates looking to change election finance rules and overturn Citizens Untied; I was happy to see the support given to the Democrat Jon Ossoff in his bid to win a special election in Georgia that had taken a seat consistently held by Republican’s and turned it into a hotly contested election race largely due, in my opinion, to the growing influence of End Citizens United.