When she was appointed as Secretary of Education by President Trump in February 2017, Betsy DeVos became one of the wealthiest cabinet members in history. Just how wealthy is DeVos and how many homes does she own?
Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos and her husband Richard “Dick” DeVos were estimated by Forbes to have combined wealth in the region of $2 billion. This is divided between large stakes in Amway and the Orlando Magic, as well as numerous other real estate investments. Their primary residences are a mansion Holland, Michigan, and a summer residence in Vero Beach, Florida.
For more on Betsy DeVos, her fortune and homes, read on.
Elisabeth “Betsy” Prince was born on January 8, 1958, and grew up in Holland, Michigan. Her father was Edgar Prince, the billionaire founder of Prince Corporation, an automobile parts supplier.
She attended the private Holland Christian High School before graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics.
Betsy first developed her interest in politics during college, volunteering for Gerald Ford’s election campaign and attending the 1976 Republican National Convention.
Prince married Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr in 1979. Betsy DeVos has been been an active member of the Michigan Republican Party since 1982 and was elected as a local delegate for 16 two-year terms from 1986 onwards.
She then served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party between 1996 and 2000 before stepping down. She was reelected in 2003 and raised party funds for George W Bush, donated to Jeb Bush, and supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 election.
Despite her opposition to Donald Trump during his campaign, DeVos was nominated by the President-elect to become Secretary of Education in his cabinet. The choice was highly divisive, with a senate vote ending as a 50-50 tie before Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie in her favor.
Between Betsy and her husband, Dick, the DeVos family is considered one of the richest in Michigan.
Dick DeVos was an heir to the Amway fortune, which was divided among Dick and his siblings after the passing of Richard DeVos Sr in 2018. Richard Sr was the founder of Amway and also the owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team.
Given that Richard Sr had four children, Forbes presumes that his wealth was divided equally among the siblings. This would mean that Dick inherited 25% of the family shares (about 12% overall) of Amway, worth an estimated $1.3 billion in mid-2019, and 25% of the Magic, valued at about $300 million.
Forbes also speculated that Betsy and Dick’s extensive portfolio of real estate, cash savings, investments, mansions, and yachts make up approximately another $400 million, bringing their total worth to somewhere in the region of $2 billion.
On appointment, Betsy DeVos became the wealthiest member of Trump’s cabinet and likely the richest in history. Only President Trump himself was wealthier than his new Secretary of Education.
It’s impossible to know how much property Betsy and Dick DeVos own in total, between their residential and commercial real estate investments. However, we do know about their two primary residences.
They have owned two mansions in Michigan, the first in Ada and the second in Holland. The Holland mansion sits on the edge of Lake Macatawa and occupies 22,000 square feet.
The waterfront mansion caused a stir when it was built in place of an existing property, due to the extent to which it dwarfed adjacent properties. Its nautical design has also drawn the ire of architecture critics.
Betsy and Dick also own a summer residence in Vero Beach, Florida. The Florida home is highly impressive but doesn’t look so out of place in its row of equally enormous properties.