Rich and Helen DeVos

Richard and Helen DeVos, two shining examples of American philanthropy and entrepreneurship, are being recognized today with Heritage’s highest honor, the Clare Boothe Luce Award, for their outstanding contributions to the conservative movement.

The DeVoses are the guests of honor at a luncheon in Naples, Fla., as part of our annual Leadership Conference and Board Meeting. Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner and Board Chairman Thomas A. Saunders III were scheduled to present the Luce Award on behalf of the think tank’s trustees and over 625,000 members.

“Rich and Helen made it their purpose, through a generous endowment of the DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society here at Heritage, to keep fighting for family, faith and civic virtue to remain at the heart of American life — and of effective solutions to poverty, crime and family breakdown,” Feulner said before leaving Washington for Naples.

DeVos is best known as co-founder of Amway, the pioneering direct sales company he launched over 50 years ago with a high school pal, and as a popular motivational speaker and author. He also owns the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Stalwarts of the movement know and admire the DeVoses, who’ve been married 57 years, as passionate contributors to candidates and causes, among them the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. They have given generously for the betterment of  health care, higher education, the arts and a range of Christian ministries, especially in their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., and in central Florida.

Feulner credits Rich DeVos with inspiring Heritage to painstakingly draft and adopt its own “shared vision statement.” Today, the resulting 17 words are emblazoned above the main entrance of our headquarters on Capitol Hill: The Heritage Foundation is committed to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.

We’ve got more here on the DeVoses, including Ed Feulner’s account of adopting a vision statement.