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Betsy DeVos to Donate Portion of Her Salary to Special Olympics

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will reportedly donate her entire first-year salary to four nonprofits, including the Special Olympics.

“DeVos will donate her year-one salary to four non-profit organizations committed to improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable students,” a representative for the Department of Education told The Mighty.

DeVos’ salary is just under $200,000, which means almost $50,000 will go to the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics has only received a verbal commitment from DeVos so far.

Though DeVos has pledged $50,000 to the Special Olympics, President Trump’s proposed budget plan would slash funding for the organization by $12.5 million. On Tuesday, Special Olympics representatives from every state came together during Capitol Hill Day for more than 350 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress in Washington D.C. to ask for “critical funding.”

“Special Olympics appreciates the opportunity to continue work with and educate Secretary DeVos and members of Congress to create more unified and inclusive schools in our country,” a Special Olympics spokesperson told The Mighty.

Many disability organizations and advocates do not believe DeVos is a good fit for the education secretary position. DeVos, who has no background in education policy, showed a lack of understanding about education for students with disabilities early on. During her confirmation hearing early last year, she had trouble outlining the federal protections granted to students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). DeVos told Senators that adherence to special education standards should be handled by the states. IDEA is a federal program that ensures students with disabilities are provided free public education with needed accommodations.

After the incident, which DeVos said she confused IDEA with other legislation. DeVos added that she was committed to upholding federal law and protecting the rights of students with disabilities.

The three other organizations that will receive a donation are Kids Hope USA, a faith-based mentoring program for at-risk youth; Vision to Learn, an organization that provides free eye exams and glasses to low-income students and Dreams Soar, a program to help girls enter science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, The New York Times reported last week.

According to Forbes, DeVos and her husband, Richard DeVos, are worth $5.5 billion.

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Photo via Gage Skidmore

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