You can change the location at any time. How long has public education been around look like a million dollars,” the Amway co-founder, Orlando Magic owner and Grand Rapids billionaire told Leslie Tassell, founder of autoparts maker Lescoa. Among West Michigan’s wealthy, social clout doesn’t come from the clothes you wear or car you drive.
Influence comes from how much you give. 94 million, ranking the family 20th on its annual Top 50 givers list. The disclosure followed years of prodding from the magazine. The family said it hopes the list encourages others’ generosity. The family is widely known for its support of conservative political candidates and issues, although, by design, the Forbes figures do not include those contributions. However, a portion of the philanthropic giving is to conservatively aligned institutions, such as think tanks. The Forbes ranking counted only money that “reached its recipients,” wrote R.
Shook, founder of the Philanthropic Research Institute, a unit of Shook Research, which partnered with Forbes to create the list. MLive and The Grand Rapids Press have compiled the information using 2013 IRS records, the most recent available. 9 million in 2013, with 48 percent going to education, 27 percent to health and community services, 13 percent to churches or faith-based organizations, and 12 percent to arts and culture. 60 million or 66 percent — was given to organizations in Michigan, with the majority staying in the greater Grand Rapids area.
1 million in donations to conservative think tanks American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation, as well as six-figure donations to the Grand Rapids-based Acton Institute and Midland-based Mackinac Center. 5 percent, according to numbers Truscott disclosed to The Press, allowing a year-to-year comparison. 54 million stayed in West Michigan, he said. The family has in the past instructed philanthropic organizations not to discuss the gifts. 6 million to the Grand Rapids Public Schools, according to district Communications Director John Helmholdt. That funding paid for leadership development, teacher evaluation and teacher training, and is credited with helping cut chronic absenteeism by 30 percent and lift minority graduation rates by 10 percent, Helmholdt said.