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Health Exec to Climb for Charity

April 23, 2008
Denver Business Journal Friday, April 18, 2008 Health care exec to climb for charityDenver Business Journal - by Mark Harden A Denver hospital executive is willing to climb mountains to help the city's uninsured get medical services -- to be exact, the highest mountain in Europe. Debbie Welle-Powell, vice president/payer strategies and legislative affairs for Exempla Healthcare, plans to scale 18,510-foot Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia this summer, a peak almost a mile higher than any summit in Colorado. She's doing it in an attempt to raise $100,000 in pledges for two Denver clinics: Inner City Health Center and La Clinica Tepeyac. "I'm combining my passion for climbing and my passion for the uninsured," Welle-Powell said. The climb is strenuous but not too technically difficult, if weather cooperates. The real challenge, she said, is the one facing the 790,000 Coloradans who lack health coverage. "In this country, if you don't have insurance, you don't have health-care access," she said. Welle-Powell -- who's been known to train on a treadmill while toting a set of encyclopedias in a backpack -- said she got into climbing in 1999 and is now two summits short of bagging every "14'er" in Colorado. "It takes the place of a lot of noise in your life," she said. Both clinics have agreed to spend 100 percent of the money Welle-Powell raises on patient care. The $100,000 goal would buy a year's medical and preventive dental services for 40 families. It's Welle-Powell's second mountain-climbing fund drive. In July 2005, she climbed 15,771-foot Mont Blanc on the French-Italian border to raise $23,500 for the Inner City Health Center. To donate and for more information, visit innercityhealth.com/ichc and scroll down to "Climbing For a Cause." REALTORS BUILD HOUSING PROGRAMS: The Denver Board of Realtors is donating $40,000 to seven local nonprofit housing organizations, including $10,000 to Senior Support Services (seniorsupportservices.org), which will be used to provide housing to 200 homeless seniors. Other grants, ranging from $4,000 to $7,000, are going to Warren Village, Volunteers of America, Northeast Denver Housing Center, Rebuilding Together Metro Denver, SafeHouse Denver and the Delores Project. MARK HARDEN, who covers nonprofits, can be reached at 303-803-9227 or mharden@bizjournals.com. Send submissions to Harden (email preferred). Include the amount donated or raised in funds or goods. All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.