NewsLocal News / June 8, 2020

Indiana Businesswoman And Philanthropist Dies At Age 77

Indiana Businesswoman And Philanthropist Dies At Age 77

Christel DeHaan (center) formed Christel House International in 1998.

Courtesy Christel House International

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Christel DeHaan, an Indiana businesswoman, philanthropist and founder of a nonprofit helping low-income school children, has died, according to the organization. She was 77.

DeHaan died at home Saturday after a recent hospital stay, according to Christel House International.

She was a founder of Resort Condominiums International, an Indiana-based timeshare company. In 1998, she formed Christel House International, which now serves thousands of students and graduates in India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.

“Christel’s vision and compassion were unparalleled,” Dennert Ware, who heads a committee at the organization, said in a statement. “Her legacy will live on in the thousands of lives she uplifted.”

DeHaan used her wealth to donate millions to Republican candidates and to the arts. The fine arts center at the University of Indianapolis carries her name.

While Christel House schools have recently been praised for success, there's been controversy in the past. In 2013, the Associated Press found school officials overhauled a grading system to give one of the organization's schools a better score.

Condolences poured in over the weekend from numerous elected officials, including Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb who called DeHaan called her a “world renown humanitarian” whose legacy “will live on for generations to come.”

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