Who We Are

Let’s not wait another moment to improve our world.

Changing the world is no easy task. After all, it’s one thing to help those experiencing difficult circumstances. But it’s another thing entirely to find and fix the root cause of those circumstances. This is the objective of Chambers Initiative. Empowering sustainable change, the kind that ripples through whole communities, entire generations. We believe this movement requires strategic thinking and funding, as well as more than one leap of faith. We will identify and support innovators, disruptors, and leaders — those who have big ideas that eradicate barriers today and pave a new road of opportunity for the future. We will put our resources to work toward systemic, sustainable change to create a more fair and just society. Our goal is to ensure that more people — particularly those most impacted by economic, social, and political injustice — have a good chance to reach their full potential.

"From an early age, I knew that each and every person has value, as well as an awareness of my own personal obligation to help effect change."

Based on her priorities, personal values, and years in philanthropy, Merle Chambers helps identify critical problems to address, approves strategies, and steers the overall direction of the Initiative.

As a child, Merle recalls visiting oil fields with her parents, who owned an oil and gas business. Years later, Merle led this company, Axem Resources, for 16 years, as one of very few women CEOs in the industry. It was during this period that Merle learned the lessons of calculated risk and reward. Having sold Axem in 1997, she turned her business acumen to philanthropy and founded Chambers Fund, applying her singular boldness and perseverance to drive change for those who need it most.

Merle grew up in Chicago, IL. 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. Merle holds a JD from UC Law SF and a Master of Tax Law from the University of Denver. She began her career as an attorney in San Francisco and moved to Denver in the late 1970s.

Today, through the work of Chambers Initiative, an umbrella for Chambers Fund and her own personal giving, Merle will pursue social justice and fuel systemic change in women’s economic security, equity, and democracy.

"We collaborate with partners to take on big challenges, yet we focus on just two areas because we think these are barriers to all people realizing their potential."

Alexandra Acker-Lyons consults for Chambers Initiative, a philanthropic endeavor that aligns the work of Merle Chambers personally and Chambers Fund.

Alexandra has worked in the nonprofit sector and in electoral politics for more than 20 years. She founded AL Advising, a philanthropic and political consulting firm that works with progressive philanthropists to create a portfolio of civic engagement, policy, and advocacy investments.