Betsy DeVos is the current United States Secretary of Education. She was born in Holland, Michigan 59 year ago. Her husband was a former CEO of a multi-level marketing company. Both are considered to be among billionaires in the United States. The family is ranked as the 88th richest family in America based on a list produced by Forbes in 2016. Besides being married to a wealthy husband, Betsy DeVos is also a renowned businesswoman in the US. She is also a politician and an activist who has been at the forefront in fighting mostly for equality and better education for children. She has been active in politics for the last 35 years after she was elected chairman of the Michigan Republic Party. Visit Betsy’s profile page on Facebook.
However, Besty DeVos and her family are well known for their conservative philanthropic activities. This has seen the DeVos family being ranked among the most generous benefactors of the conservative movements and the Christian rights. It is believed that Betsy DeVos together with her family has invested over 200 million dollars in right-wing causes. They have also helped to fund nearly every prominent Republican running for national office. It is estimated that they have given over $44 million to the Michigan Republican Party, GOP legislative committees and Republican candidate since 1997. In addition to this, she is also described as a talented fundraiser as she was able to raise over 150,000 dollars for the re-election of George W. Bush. Their total donations as a family to the matters related to politics are estimated to be over 18 million dollars since 1989. This is a remarkable contribution. Their contributions in the political arena have, however, been more frequent in the last five years where it is estimated that they donated over 10 million dollars.
Besides giving their donation for the political cause, DeVos family has also been ranked by Forbes as 24th most philanthropic family in the United States. Their total lifetime donation on all causes is estimated to be over $1.3 billion approximated to be a quarter of their total net worth. They are involved in health, health research and Christian related missions. This is carried out under their family foundation known as Dick and Besty DeVos Family Foundation. They also have a national advocacy known as American Federation for Children, which promote school choice, school vouchers, and scholarship tax credit programs. Their focus has mostly been on funding on Christian Schools and religious missions. The couple’s philanthropic record is a clear indication that they view choice and competition as the best method of enhancing and improving the education system of America. Their total donation to charter schools is estimated to be around $5.2 million from 1999 to 2014, and their donation to private Christian schools was estimated to be over $8.6 million. They firmly believe that the power of education and Christianity can impact a positive impact on the society.
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In addition to being a widely respected businessman and political activist, George Soros has been active for decades in the area of promoting free and open societies around the world. His first major philanthropic effort was in 1979 when he contributed scholarships to black South Africans during apartheid so that they could have access to educational opportunities and help combat the oppressive regime in place. Since then, George Soros has generously funded educational initiatives all over the globe. He launched the Open Society Foundations, which now have a presence in over 100 countries around the world and serve as beacons of freedom and help safeguard basic human rights. The premise of the societies is that the seek to promote transparency and openness in government so that the government is actually accountable to the people and unable to manipulate or withhold the truth for its own benefit.
Decades ago, in an article for The Atlantic, Soros penned an essay on the role of the free market in deciding what type of society we would live in. He warned that letting the free market decide the types of values we will have as a society is what a capitalist would want. He thinks that very premise is dangerous to society overall. His essay was titled “The Capitalist Threat.” In it, Soros explained that it was the rule of communist regimes that prompted his work to establish the Open Society Foundations. He said that in communist controlled countries, the general populations already understood the need for openness and the free exchange of information. Even after communities ruling parties collapsed all over the world, Soros said the Western governments missed a vital opportunity to truly embrace the values of an open society.
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Part of the problem with spreading the awareness and understanding of open societies to people who had previously lived under communist rule, according to Soros, is that they are immediately faced with ensuring their own survival. That is, those people simply do not have the time or resources to concern themselves with broader political movements because they are focused on where the next meal to feed their family will come from. To that end, Soros has spent significant time and effort in formulating a definition of what an open society really is so that he can explain this message to the masses. While he admits that it is a difficult concept to grasp at first, Soros thinks that an open society involves protecting individual rights and upholding shared values at the same time. Soros believes that free market capitalism will not allow an open society to thrive because it will put the needs of individuals over the common good at all times, which will lead to a small, dominant group of individuals who control all of the resources and power within a country. At the other end of the spectrum, communism does not allow individuality to flourish, so the central government ends up dominating. Soros thinks the answer is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
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