The life of the former President of the AmWay Group Dick DeVos has largely been played out in the public eye, which is why I have spent much of the last few months examining the work of Dick DeVos and the philanthropic work he carries out with his wife, Betsy. The first aspect of the life of Dick DeVos that made me admire both he and his family was the fact he had spent the majority of his time in education passing through the public school system of Grand Rapids, Michigan. After completing his education Dick has always made sure he included a range of varied interests in his life, which includes joining the AmWay Group in the mid 1970s to learn about the many different areas of the business; along with joining the AmWay team Dick DeVos impressed me by creating The Windquest Group to maintain his own investing career.
Dick spent most of the next decade exploring the various different departments of AmWay as he looked for the best position for his own career, eventually becoming the Vice President responsible for foreign business in the mid 1980s. As he took over the foreign policy of AmWay Dick DeVos found a much neglected department he transformed from being responsible for around five percent of annual sales in 1986 to more than 50 percent just six years later. The success Dick found at AmWay was exceptional in my eyes and was rewarded with his appointment as CEO and President of the Orlando Magic basketball franchise when it was purchased by the DeVos family.
The success I have seen follow Dick DeVos from company to company has shown me he is obviously an impressive businessperson who has more skills than have been revealed to the public. From 1992 to 2002 DeVos led AmWay to expansion into more than 50 countries before retiring from daily operations. I first became aware of Dick DeVos through the work of his Windquest Group that has made a series of investments in the Grand Rapids, Michigan region and beyond; Dick DeVos has shown me he still has an eye for a solid investment opportunity that shows he keeps his finger on the pulse of an ever changing world.
It is becoming common to know or see children with Autism. Those children and their families rely on awareness of the spectrum of disorders in order to receive the services they need. Children with Autism are no longer guaranteed a life in an institution. Instead, thanks to parents like Usha and Sanjay Shah Denmark, kids with Autism can live engaged, fun-filled lives just like their peers.
Despite the progress they had seen in awareness of Autism disorders, Usha and Sanjay Shah wanted to do more for their son Nikhil, who is autistic and other kids like him. They founded Autism Rocks, which aims to increase awareness of autism, funding for research and events for kids with Autism. Since 20014 Autism Rocks has put on concerts for families and popular artists like Michael Bublè and Prince have headlined the event.
This year, along with carnival attractions like a bounce house, BBQ and a petting zoo, the artists Flo Rida and Tyga will be entertaining the crowds. Their connection with teens and younger kids who love their music will extend the reach of Autism Rocks and bring awareness to an even larger and younger set of people.
According to Sanjay Shah, the whole concept for Autism Rock began one afternoon when he was entertaining Snoop Dog the rapper at his home. It was a surprise visit but as a well-established investment banker, Sanjay was no stranger to people with influence and money. Charity work has always been important to the Shah family and they had sponsored children in India frequently. His focus changed in 2011 when his youngest son was diagnosed with autism. The family had been seeking a way to contribute more to research and awareness globally for the condition. The idea of holding a concert to raise funds more or less came to Sanjay as he talked with Snoop Dog in his backyard.
Since that day the Shah family has been committed to raising funds for research. The proceeds from this year’s concert will go to the Autism Research Trust (ART). ART supports research by the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at Cambridge University, they study the cause and effects of autism.
There will be many excited families and children participating this year in Dubi. This event will kick off the 30 days of April designated as Autism Awareness Month. The more funding that researchers like those at Cambridge University receive, the closer we will be to really understand Autism