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Merle Chambers

Inductee Name

Merle Chambers

Date of Birth

1946

Year Inducted

2004

Category

Philanthropy

Sponsor

Lydia M. Pena, SL 

Impact

National

For more than two decades, Merle Chambers has devoted considerable time to philanthropy as president and board chair of Merle Chambers Fund. Merle founded Chambers Fund in 1997 with a commitment to long-term economic opportunity and social justice. Actively involved in civic, cultural and philanthropic affairs in Colorado, Merle has dedicated her time, expertise and resources to improving the lives of women and families in Colorado. Merle is past president and a founding board member of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and was instrumental in establishing the Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women at the University of Denver where The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is located. 

 Merle led Axem Resources Inc., a privately held independent oil and gas exploration and production company, for more than 20 years. Axem participated in some of the Rocky Mountain region’s most spectacular industry successes. As CEO of Axem, she pioneered women’s leadership in the oil and gas industry as one of few women CEOs in a male dominated field. 

 In recognition of her success with Axem Resources, Merle was the first woman inducted into the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, served on the National Petroleum Council, an advisory body to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, and was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Conference on Small Business Commission. After growing Axem significantly, she sold the oil company in 1997. 

 Merle is a patron of the arts, has traveled extensively and was the third woman to reach both the North and South Poles by plane. In recognition of her leadership and innovation in philanthropy, Merle has been honored to receive numerous awards. 

 Merle began her career as an attorney in San Francisco and moved to Denver in the late 1970s. She received her BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968 and was a student protestor during the Free Speech and Civil Rights movements. She holds a JD from Hastings College of the Law and a Master of Tax Law from the University of Denver.  

In Her Words