Human Resources, Manufacturing, and Nonprofits

DeVos family ranks among 'Top Givers' in US

October 2, 2015
TAGS Amway
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simply rich
Amway co-founder Rich DeVos on the cover of his 2014 book "Simply Rich."

Some of the most-generous people in America hail from West Michigan.

The DeVos family leads the way and ranks No. 20 in Forbes’ ranking of “America’s 50 Top Givers,” which it posted yesterday.

The annual ranking is based on money given, not pledged, in the 2014 calendar year.

Forbes says the DeVos family gave $94 million last year and their “total lifetime giving” is $1.2 billion.

“Charity is based on Christian faith for the family that owns direct-selling firm Amway and the NBA's Orlando Magic,” Forbes says. “Gifts went to colleges, hospitals and the arts, including the Whitney Museum.”

The DeVos family’s spot on the ranking squeezed them ahead of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who rank No. 24, and the richest man in New York, David Koch, who ranks No. 26.

Warren Buffet tops the ranking, with his giving $2.8 billion last year, while Bill and Melinda Gates rank second with $1.3 billion in giving.

Forbes created the ranking in partnership with the Philanthropic Research Institute, or PRI, a unit of Shook Research.

The methodology did not include anonymous gifts, gifts to a donor-advised fund or contributions to a family foundation, but “only on the money that actually reached the recipients.”

“A lot of pledges are unfulfilled,” said PRI Founder R.J. Shook. “We think it makes more sense to count the money that’s actually being received.”

Forbes says that the top-10 members on the ranking collectively gave away $7.1 billion last year. The collective net worth of the top 10 is more than $377 billion.

“We’re starting to see a turn where people want to enjoy giving while they’re still alive and have a say in it and see the difference,” Shook said. 

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