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Helen DeVos remembered for philanthropic legacy


Grand Rapids philanthropist Helen DeVos died October 18th at age 90. She was the wife of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. WGVU explores her philanthropic spirit and its lasting impact.

“It’s really the loss of a philanthropic icon for Grand Rapids.”

Kyle Caldwell is executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University. He does his best to describe the philanthropic impact Helen DeVos had on the region.

“So much of the city and development and its growth and its expansion in the Medical Mile and Grand Valley State University campus and the symphony and so many other places have really benefited from the DeVos family leadership and she was certainly a vital part of that.”

“Well, I’ve had the great pleasure and privilege and pleasure of knowing Helen for over 25 years.” Dr. Robert Conners is President of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. He explains it’s possible Grand Rapids would not have a children’s hospital had it not been for Helen DeVos.

“Her care and compassion for children just jumped out. She was always very, very comfortable here talking to families. I think that people from the area came around and told her stories we never even heard about some of the wonderful care people were getting in the hospital that bears her name.”

“She was really a localist before localist was popular or even framed," Caldwell explains, "I think that speaks well of her and the family that she was a part of. I think for decades to come we’re going to find that her role in leadership in this community was just profound.”

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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