WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 6—Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James today issued the following statement on the death of Richard DeVos:
"Around the globe, Richard DeVos inspired countless people to dream big dreams. Rich probably was best known for founding Amway, the hugely successful direct sales company, in 1959 with a high school buddy, Jay Van Andel. Sports fans, of course, knew him as the owner and chairman of the Orlando Magic.
"As Amway grew, so did Rich’s heart. He became a widely admired philanthropist and motivational speaker. He also found time to author four books, the best known of which is “Compassionate Capitalism."
"Rich was a determined fighter, as was his wife, Helen, who passed away last year. The cause closest to their hearts was to keep family, faith and civic virtue at the center of American life. They saw this as the best and only real way to counter social ills such as poverty, crime and family breakdown.
"And they generously endowed the Richard & Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society here at The Heritage Foundation to carry that cause forward. In announcing their initial grant to establish the Center, Rich spoke of his abiding faith in “the power of free enterprise and democracy in giving people around the world hope, opportunity and a better life as endowed by the Creator.
"The DeVos Center is not the only legacy Rich left Heritage. It was he who pushed us to adopt a statement of “shared vision” to help ensure a lasting mark on social policy. The resulting 17 words are emblazoned inside the main entrance of our headquarters building on Capitol Hill: The Heritage Foundation is committed to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.
"Heritage was by no means the only conservative institution to benefit from the time, talent and gifts of Rich DeVos. He also served as president of the Council for National Policy. He was a trustee of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia; the Delaware-based Intercollegiate Studies Institute; and Michigan’s Northwood University (home of the DeVos Graduate School of Management).
"In 2010, the Heritage Board of Trustees presented Rich and Helen with the Clare Boothe Luce Award, our highest honor for contributions to the conservative movement. The DeVoses financially supported better health care, higher education, the arts and a range of Christian ministries, especially in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., and in central Florida.
"Today, our hearts and prayers are with the DeVos family, including Rich’s four grown children and 16 grandchildren."