Dick DeVos helps grow Grand Rapids, Michigan, into one of the Midwest’s urban gems

Grand Rapids, Michigan, had a long history as a center of manufacturing and one of the Upper Midwest’s most thriving population centers. It has always been Michigan’s second city, maintaining more than a third of the population of Detroit right through the early 20th century.

 

The city began life as a timber town and quickly branched out into the manufacture of goods using the area’s bounteous timber supplies. This naturally led Grand Rapids to establish itself as one of the premier furniture manufacturing centers in the world, leading to it’s nickname: Furniture City. Even as the furniture industry began to decline through the middle of the 20th century, as the state’s once teeming forests were stripped, Grand Rapids was able to almost seamlessly transition to a center of automotive manufacturing, with many hub industries that supplied the Big Three automakers of Detroit.

 

Auto manufacturing and related industries continued to drive growth of the city through the 1950s. But as the auto manufacturing industry of the United States began to take an uncompetitive turn throughout the 70s, Grand Rapids’ manufacturing base began feeling the squeeze for the first time. Throughout the 1980s, many of the area’s residents lost their jobs, and the city’s urban core began to experience serious declines, with many vacancies appearing and entire blocks falling into dereliction.

 

Dick DeVos was just making a name for himself as one of the area’s leading businessmen during the 1980s. It was around this time, when DeVos was coming into his own as an executive with Amway and a top figure in a number of other Grand Rapids industries, that the Downtown district was on the cusp of going the same route as many other Michigan cities. DeVos was a seasoned urban planner. He had worked first-hand with the Detroit Public School System in an effort to boost the performance of that city’s failing schools. As a result, he had a realist’s knowledge of what happens when a city passes the point of no return, as Detroit had, and all of the remaining productive classes flee to the suburbs. DeVos knew that something needed to be done. Otherwise, Grand Rapids would almost certainly follow the path of other Michigan cities like Detroit, Flint and Battle Creek. The city’s urban center would be rendered uninhabitable and would spiral into a pit of criminality and vice.

 

DeVos had always been a man of action. He formed a group that he dubbed the Grand Action Committee, comprised of the area’s top business leaders, with DeVos serving as chairman. DeVos led by example. He ponied up tens of millions of dollars of his own money to invest in projects like the DeVos Place Convention Center and the Van Andel Arena. Both projects have brought in billions of dollars of additional revenues to the Downtown Grand Rapids area. DeVos and his Grand Action Committee were also instrumental in the creation of the Medical Mile, one of the most recognized medical corridors in the nation.

 

Today, thanks in large part to Dick DeVos, Grand Rapids frequently ranks among the top cities in the country in which to live, play and work.

 

To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.

End Citizen’s Aim to Overturn the Supreme Court’s Ruling On Super PAC Donations

End Citizen United revealed its plans to become a leading Democratic Party supporter in the 2016 presidential campaigns. According to reports, the group had the intent to channel millions of dollars into the movement to support candidates in houses and senates across America. The group began its campaign in October 2015 and rallied over $2million in the same month. After its launch, the communications director Richard Carbo stated that they had strategies to raise the amount to at least $25 million usable in the 2016 campaign cycle.

 

The group’s formation was meant to combat the court’s law that allowed wealthy people and organizations to donate massive amounts to Super PACS and divert the country’s political direction with malicious end goals. The campaign saw the recruitment of more than 325,000 supporters in the first month of the organization’s establishment. In efforts to increase that number, End Citizen signed a contract with Ready For Hilary group to receive its database of emails which would ensure that 4 million people received and understood the revolution’s message. The group creates and launches direct mailers, TV ads, and polling that stirs revolutions in the grassroots. End Citizen’s strategies to combat Citizen United included backing political figures such as Senator Micheal Bennet of Colorado, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and nine other leaders of the Democratic Party. Additionally, Carbo revealed that End Citizen is giving support to candidates under attack by wealthy political influencers like the Koch brothers and similarly minded groups.

 

Despite the popularity of Republicans ending Citizen United, one End Citizen’s staff reported that the group has an undeterred focus to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling. Since its establishment, End Citizen has received 136,000 donations and millions of grassroots inputs avenging $14.86 per person. The Washington-based office of the group is in the management of five senior advisers including Valerie Martin, Clair McCaskill, and Reed Adamson.

 

In the first quarter of 2017, End Citizen received $4 million from approximately 100,000 people, 40,000 of whom were first-time donors. The group’s efforts to elect finance reform candidates include a plan to raise $35 million before the congressional 2018 midterm elections. If realized, the amount will exceed the 2016 amount by $25 million. Recently, the group’s political arm helped its top donors to input $500,000 to the election campaign of Jon Ossoff, a Democratic candidate in the state of Georgia. Ossoff helped the organization collect $4 million to help in the elections of a house candidate in Atlanta. Other individuals who will receive unparalleled support from the group in 2018 include Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Jon Tester of Montana. The ex-assistant political directors of the Senate’s Democrats group stated that End Citizen is evaluating 2018’s political climate thoroughly to strategies an effective campaign.