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WorldDenver International Women's Day honors champions for Indigenous women

More than 750 people attended the sold-out International Women's Day luncheon at the Seawell Ballroom on Wednesday at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Hosted by WorldDenver, the event honored Lucille Echohawk, a co-founder of the Denver Indian Center and former Executive Director of the Denver Indian Family Resource Center. Echohawk also co-founded Native Americans in Philanthropy and has done extensive work to improve Indian child welfare services. Though formally retired, she continues to be active in the tribal and Native non-profit community.


The impact of Lakewood based nonprofit Friendship Bridge was also recognized.  Friendship Bridge primarily serves Mayan women in rural communities of Guatemala. In 2022, the organization gave $25 million in loans to more than 33,000 women, with a repayment rate above 98%. Friendship Bridge 'strives to change how clients see, respond to, and overcome issues of poverty for themselves, their families and their communities."


Keynote speaker Jane Marie Chen delivered remarks on how one idea can change the world. She is the co-founder and CEO of Embrace Global, which developed an incubator costing less than 1 percent the cost of a traditional incubator.  It's credited with saving the lives of more than 475,000 babies across 22 countries. 

Chen described the challenge of developing a incubator that can be successfully deployed in remote or war-torn regions where electricity can be unstable or non-existent. The core technology her team of researchers was able to develop is "a phase-change-material, a wax like substance, which when melted, can maintain a constant temperature of 98 degrees for up to eight hours at a stretch."  It can be reheated many times and when placed in a small sleeping bag creates a warm environment for a baby.


Recently the special incubators have been deployed widely to Ukraine for use by women delivering pre-mature babies in locations such as bomb shelters. They're also being deployed in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquake in the region. 


Chen advised attendees to "choose to see the world through the lens of beauty," and to "let go of attachments to outcomes, and focus on values."

Every year WorldDenver brings more than 500 leaders from around the world to Colorado to share insights and expertise with local businesses, agencies and nonprofits. They also host community events that bring Coloradans from all backgrounds together to discuss and learn more about global issues and world affairs. Find out more at

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