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INDIANAPOLIS — Christel DeHaan, an Indianapolis businesswoman, philanthropist, and community leader has died.

Christel House International said DeHaan was 77-years-old and surrounded by family at home when she died.

DeHaan founded the non-profit organization, Christel House in 1998. She wanted to transform the lives of impoverished children around the globe.

Christel House was created to address the causes of poverty and runs K-12 public charter schools in high-poverty areas. It has nearly 6,000 students and graduates worldwide through schools in India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States.

Mayor Joe Hogsett issued the following statement after DeHaan’s death

“While we were lucky that Christel decided to call Indianapolis home, she was truly a citizen of the world. As a philanthropist, Christel utilized her resources to invest in areas where she saw a need – strengthening arts and cultural institutions and providing educational opportunities to children in Indianapolis and around the globe.

I am grateful for the friendship and support of Christel over the years and know that her impact will be felt for generations to come.”