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.
For the past two decades, Merle has devoted considerable time to philanthropy as president and board chair of Merle Chambers Fund. Merle founded Chambers Family Fund in 1997 with a commitment to long-term economic opportunity and social justice. After 20 years of honoring her family in the name, Chambers Family Fund became Merle Chambers Fund in 2017.
Merle Chambers Fund is the natural outcome of a family tradition of philanthropic and civic engagement. Merle’s family’s influence is present in the foundation’s willingness to take risks and its collaborative work for systems change to strengthen communities and improve lives. Merle’s mother, Evelyn Hemmings Chambers, was a great supporter of the arts and charitable organizations. Evelyn’s commitment to give back to her community was a seamless element of who she was throughout her life. Merle was also inspired by and followed in the footsteps of her father, Jerry Chambers, who was a successful executive in the transportation and oil and gas industries.
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 is a patron of the arts, has traveled extensively and was the third woman to reach both the North and South Poles. In recognition of her leadership and innovation in philanthropy, Merle has been honored to receive numerous awards.