DeVos is politically known in Michigan for her push for private school voucher programs, a position that has been controversial within public education circles. But in religious circles, the DeVos name is synonymous with key philanthropic efforts in Christian communities. DeVos, 58, graduated from Calvin College, a Christian Reformed Church school that is named after the famed Protestant reformer John Calvin, where the DeVos name is well-known.
The DeVos family, heirs to the Amway Corp. fortune, are prolific donors in Michigan Republican and religious circles. DeVos is a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman whose husband unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006. . . .
DeVos has been member and an elder at the large nondenominational Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, which was formerly led by popular author Rob Bell. Former president of Fuller Seminary Rich Mouw said he served on a committee with her to replace Bell, and he said DeVos is heavily influenced by Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch writer and Calvinist theologian. . . .
Her policy positions on school vouchers appear to be motivated by her Christian faith. When her children were school-age, she visited the Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids. She told the Philanthropy Roundtable that parents “were doing everything in their power to have their kids in an environment that was safe, where they were learning, and where the atmosphere was just electric with curiosity, with love for one another.” DeVos and her husband began supporting individual students, and that “grew into a larger commitment.”