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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Court Ruling Strikes Down Evangelical Prison Ministry Program with Connections to the Religious Right in West Michigan

    Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries is heavily funded by a variety of prominent conservative foundations based in West Michigan. The Holland-based DeWitt Families Conduit Foundation—funded by money from the Bil Mar slaughterhouse operations—contributed to $12,000 to the organization from 2002 to 2004 while the Cook Charitable Foundation, based in Grand Rapids and founded by Peter C. Cook, founder of Great Lakes Mazda, contributed $10,000 in 2003. However, it is two of the area’s wealthiest and most right-leaning families—the Grand Rapids area DeVos family and Holland’s Prince family—that have made the most substantial contributions to the organization. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation—established by Amway (Alticor) co-founder Richard DeVos—contributed $1,000,000 annually to the organization from 2002-2004. Additionally, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation—established by Richard “Dick” DeVos, Junior (and Republican candidate for governor this year)—contributed $50,000 in 2002 and 2003 to Prison Fellowship Ministries. Holland’s Prince family—which made money in the auto parts industry—contributed $680,000 from 2001 through two family foundations, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation ($30,000 in 2003, $50,000 in 2004, $50,000 in 2005) and the Freiheit Foundation—established by Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos and founder of the security contractor Blackwater.

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