Betsy DeVos – An Education Secretary With Soul

America’s new Secretary of Education, Elisabeth Dee DeVos, is better known simply as “Betsy DeVos.” Although she’s recently stepped into probably her most important role, Betsy’s soul and talent have been immersed in philanthropy and education for decades.

The Education Department is not the first political appointment for Betsy, as President George W. Bush appointed her to the Board of Directors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2004, where she served until 2010. During that tenure, she and her husband donated $22.5 million in 2010 to help teach art managers and board directors how to manage their cultural institution, including how to fundraise, creating an entity called the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.

Betsy has been a strong advocate of School Choice, including school vouchers. She has used this passion in her service as the Chairwoman of the Board of Alliance for School Choice. She also headed the All Children Matter PAC, a political PAC which promotes school choice in the form of vouchers and tax credits. Other organizations she helped to promote School Choice include the American Education Reform Council, Advocates for School Choice, the Education Freedom Fund, the Great Lakes Education Project (“GLEP”), the Board for the Choice of Children, the American Federation for Children (“AFC”), and, early on in the 1990s, the Children First America and the American Education Reform Council.

Betsy has also helped establish several Educational Scholarships. In 2009 Betsy and her family founded ArtPrize, an international art competition held in her native Michigan.

Education has long been dear to Betsy’s heart. She sees education often overlapping with her Christian Faith, believing that, like art, education advances God’s Kingdom.

Although an exhaustive list of Betsy’s work would be too lengthy for a synopsis, some of the highlights of her other charitable efforts include her work at the Prince Foundation, a supporter of Christian Organizations. The Dick and Betsy Devos Family Foundation, which she launched with her husband Richard DeVos which served as another vehicle to fund Christian Organizations.

Betsy worked extensively with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, usually referred to simply as the Acton Institute. More in line with purely educational work, the Acton Institute focuses on the promotion of individual liberty within the framework of Judeo-Christianity.


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