The Merle Chambers Fund is a private foundation funded and directed by former oil and natural gas company CEO, lawyer, investor, and Democratic Party fundraiser Merle Chambers.  It was called “Chambers Family Fund” from its founding in 1997 until 2017. 
The Fund’s donations focus on education, “women’s economic security,” social justice, and other left-of-center causes.  Its revenues totaled $15,172,942 in 2017; revenues included a $10 million contribution from Chambers. 
The Merle Chambers Fund is named for its founder and principal donor, Democratic donor and liberal activist Merle Chambers.  She was CEO of Axem Resources Inc., a gas and oil company, from 1980 through 1997. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed Chambers to the White House Conference on Small Business Commission. 
On her politics, Chambers said in 2009, “My mother was a good liberal, and she gave of her time and talent….That’s where I got the emotional underpinnings of my work.” She donated $430,260 to political candidates and causes from 2011 to 2014, including to the campaigns of then-Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), the campaign of then-Secretary of State candidate and current U.S. Representative Joseph Neguse (D-CO), and to female Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. 
In 2012, Chambers donated $200,000 to the Democratic-supporting Super PAC Fair Share Action.  She donated to many Democratic campaigns and $33,900 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the 2018 federal election cycle. 
Her large donations to the DNC go back decades. Chambers donated $208,000 to the DNC in 1992. 
In 2018, Chambers donated $100,000 to a ballot effort to raise state taxes for the purposes of providing greater funding to Colorado education. 
Fund Mission and Initiatives
The Merle Chambers Fund describes itself as focused on funding “organizations and projects” which “are well-positioned to advance social justice, women’s economic security and early care and education.” Their grant provisions are largely limited to groups inside Colorado, and “focus … on policy, advocacy and systems change.” 
The Fund made 29 grants in 2017 which totaled $1,498,471.  A number of Fund grant recipients are policy and political advocacy organizations, all with left-leaning priorities such as Medicaid expansion, reducing economic inequality, climate change alarmism, and government preferences for low-income renters and homeowners.    
A number of recipients are advocates for abortion. The Global Fund for Women, for example, received $10,000. NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains received $10,000 and $15,000, respectively. 9to5 Colorado received $10,000 and the Denver Women’s Collaborative received $11,000.
Other groups with explicitly left-leaning missions received grants in 2017. The Bell Policy Center, a left-leaning policy group based in Colorado, received $165,000.  According to the Bell Policy Center’s 2016 990 its total budget that year was $862,447. That year, the Merle Chambers Fund provided $160,000 – nearly 19 percent of the Bell Policy Center’s revenues in 2016. 
The Fund’s 2016 tax return states that it was “one of the founders of the Bell Policy Center.” 
The Merle Chambers Fund 2016 annual report shows that it provided NARAL and Planned Parenthood $30,000 and $25,000 respectively that year.
The Women’s Foundation of Colorado received $100,000 from the Merle Chambers Fund for matters surrounding its 30th anniversary. Chambers is a former president and a founding board member of the Foundation, which is located at the University of Denver. The Women’s Foundation’s lexicon is founded upon left-leaning premises, such as “herstory” instead of “history,” and it supports policies such as state-funded contraceptives and abortion, as well as so-called “Equal Pay” legislation. 
Other recipients of Merle Chambers Fund contributions were educational and arts institutions. The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, Colorado, which opened its new location in 2018, received $500,000 from the Fund in 2017.  The Fund and Chambers have provided all of the $22 million which was used to build the Museum’s new location. 
The Merle Chambers Fund’s President and Board of Directors Chair is Merle Chambers. Lawyer Donald Hopkins, Community First Foundation executive director Marla Williams, Merle Chambers’ ex-husband Hugh Grant, Sally Leibbrandt, and Joy Hall also serve on the board. 
Letty Bass is executive director of the Fund. Katy Arnold is Program Associate. Bass has announced that she will be retiring from her position as the Fund’s executive director in June 2019.