Delta Institute works with communities throughout the Midwest to solve environmental and economic challenges.
Roughly 50,000 acres of the 1.5M total acres of conserved land in Illinois are owned by conservation land trusts. Delta and our partners collaborated on a research project to understand and map out the current conditions of conservation organization-based land stewardship in Illinois. Explore details of our findings and recommendations. Together, we are helping to preserve beautiful natural and working lands across Illinois.Read More >
WE SERVE OUR CLIENTS AND PARTNERS BY:
Identifying strategic solutions.
Developing sustainable markets.
Convening diverse stakeholders.
Informing better policy.
Designing and implementing model programs.
Deconstruction and Building Material Reuse Webinar
Learn about deconstruction and building material reuse. Delta will introduce you to deconstruction for government, economic development professionals and other practitioners, and she will share an overview of Delta Institute's recently released deconstruction tool guide.
Working with local community partners, Delta Institute helped convene stakeholders to create strategy and guidelines for sustainable economic development for the former site of the Shenango Coke Plant on Neville Island located on the Ohio River just north of Pittsburgh, PA.Read More >
Chicago is increasingly becoming a tale of two cities. In most of the City’s neighborhoods, income has declined, middle class residents and immigrants are leaving, and employment opportunities are scarce. Yet, the housing burden and the cost of living continue to rise. To address the growing inequity among Chicago neighborhoods, a new paradigm for neighborhood redevelopment is needed. A key need for this new approach to neighborhood redevelopment is a land bank integrated with a land trust and controlled by the communities that use it. Delta Institute proposes to work with low and moderate income communities in Chicago to create the Chicago Neighborhood Land Bank & Trust (CNLB&T). CNLB&T’s land bank capabilities will supplement the work of Cook County Land Bank Authority and other fantastic community partners, and help accelerate and steer market generated residential and economic redevelopment by holding and preparing land for sale—thus ensuring that all neighborhoods receive equitable and inclusive redevelopment opportunities for housing and businesses, not just those that are wealthy.Read More >
This section is a portion of our “Land Tenure and Conservation in Agriculture: Creating Incentives for Landowners” report issued in May 2019. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond.Read More >
People and Profiles
Claire Costelloe supports programmatic work across Delta’s objective areas. Prior to working for Delta, Claire worked for a community development financial institution, supporting its impact measurement and research work. Claire holds bachelor's degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of Chicago. At UChicago, Claire was part of on-campus sustainability efforts as a member of the Environment, Agriculture, and Food Working Group and wrote a thesis on US pollinator policy. In her free time, Claire enjoys reading, doing crossword puzzles, and running on the Lakefront Trail.
Kevin Dick, LEED AP O+M
Kevin oversees and implements Delta’s energy and buildings strategy, which includes managing Delta’s green building portfolio and residential and commercial behavioral energy programs. Kevin’s passion is finding new, innovative connections, and technology-based solutions that make permanent market change and enable partners and clients to be leaders in sustainability innovation. Born in Atlanta and raised in Cincinnati, Kevin has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Cincinnati, and a M.A. in Geography & Environmental Studies from Northeastern Illinois University. In his spare time, Kevin plays four musical instruments, cooks, gardens, goes on nature excursions, designs software, takes photographs, writes short stories, and occasionally keeps bees.
Senior Specialist, Programs
Jack Eskin manages projects in Delta Institute’s Green Infrastructure portfolio and provides programmatic support for the Resilient Communities initiative area, including urban redevelopment and brownfield revitalization projects. Prior to joining Delta Institute, Jack served as the Deputy Director of Redevelopment for the City of Gary, Indiana, where he oversaw land use planning, green infrastructure, brownfield redevelopment, and transportation projects. Jack holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master’s in Urban Planning & Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In his free time, Jack enjoys hiking, biking around town, exploring restaurants, listening to music, and being a dad.
Sidney Freitag-Fey, CFRE
Director of Development and Communications
Sidney (Sid) has more than 15 years of resource development experience with expertise in individual giving (annual fund, major gifts, and planned giving); board relations and recruitment; grant writing and prospecting; corporate sponsorship; event planning fundraising strategy; and marketing. Currently he is the director of development and marketing for Delta Institute. Sid previously served as development director for a small regenerative farming and food safety nonprofit, a gifts officer for Heartland Alliance for Human Rights & Human Needs, and in steadily increasing development roles for multiple Chicago-based social service agencies since 2006. He is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Mongolia; was adjunct faculty at Loyola University Chicago; and has been a presenter for the Axelson Center since 2014. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Chicago Area Peace Corps Association.
Director of Finance & Operations
As Director of Finance and Operations for Delta, Helen is responsible for all of the financial, administrative and operational aspects of the organization. She brings more than 15 years of experience in a leadership capacity in accounting and administration in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Helen holds a B.S. in Accounting from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and M.S. from Keller University in Accounting and Financial Management. In her spare time, she loves football (GO STEELERS!), traveling, and playing with her dog.
Olga Lyandres, PhD
Senior Specialist, Land Stewardship
As Senior Specialist, Olga utilizes analytical approaches and data analysis and visualization to facilitate the development and implementation of projects in Delta's ecosystems portfolio. She leads projects that connect innovative solutions and measurable outcomes on the landscape, particularly in freshwater ecosystems. Prior to joining Delta Institute, she served as the Research Manager for Alliance for the Great Lakes, providing analytical and research support for policy work and managing the academic network for the organization. Before the position at the Alliance for the Great Lakes, she conducted photo-catalysis research at Northwestern University in the Environmental Engineering Department. Olga holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Olga grew up in Russia, and has lived within two blocks of Lake Michigan shoreline since moving to Chicago in 2002.
Senior Assistant, Finance & Operations
As Finance & Operations Assistant, Mackenzie provides interdepartmental support to Delta staff, specializing in HR, accounting, operations, and executive assistance. Prior to joining Delta, Mackenzie worked for a financial management services company that specialized in real estate investment. She has a B.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences with a certification in Professional Event Management from Texas A&M University. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys camping and tries to visit at least one national park a year. She also enjoys hanging out with her dog, Quincy, eating Mexican food, and traveling home to visit her family in Texas.
Reilly Manz joined Delta’s Program Implementation team after spending nearly three years as a policy and communications specialist for a bi-national, interstate compact agency tasked with convening the region’s stakeholders for the responsible stewardship of Great Lakes resources. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and has over three years of experience conducting policy research and strategic engagement across sectors in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and enjoys skiing, photography, and clean drinking water. Occasionally, you might find him rollerblading Chicago’s lakefront.
Patrick Murphy, CFRE
Senior Specialist, Development
Patrick T. Murphy, CFRE serves as Delta Institute's Senior Specialist, Development. Patrick is a PhD student in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University. He holds a MS in Nonprofit Management from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership and a BA in Theatre from Loyola University Chicago. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).
Margaret Renas, PE, LEED AP O+M
Lead, Community & Brownfield Revitalization
Margaret is an environmental engineer responsible for project management, implementation and development of sustainability-related projects in the Resilient Communities initiative area. Her work focuses on community-based vacant property and brownfield redevelopment (from initial site acquisition and investigation through site cleanup, interim reuse, and permanent redevelopment), working with local communities to assess air quality, stakeholder relationship/partnership building, and community engagement. Margaret received a B.S. in Mathematics from Purdue University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Margaret plays the violin, loves volunteering at By the Hand and has two adorable house rabbits.
Chief Executive Officer
Bill Schleizer is the CEO of Delta Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on thriving communities and landscapes. He drives strategy, development, and engagement while collaborating with communities across the Midwest to solve complex environmental challenges. He has over 18 years of experience in systems and policy analysis, environmental science, ecosystems and consulting and serves on the Advisory Board for Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Environmental Studies from Tulane University and his master’s degree in Environmental Analysis and Decision Making from Rice University. He hails from Stevens Point, Wisconsin and is a trivia champion who loves a challenge.
Finance & Operations Specialist
As Finance and Operations Senior Specialist for Delta, Katherine is responsible for administering the financial and operational aspects of the organization and assisting with grant management and I.T. She has worked in non-profits for her entire career, including a family foundation, a university, and smaller programmatic organizations, totaling 15 years of experience in the field. Katherine grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and stayed in Chicago after receiving her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. She loves spending time with her husband and their dog, doing DIY projects, and catching up on TV and movies.
Senior Associate, Programs
As Senior Programs Associate, Megan Walton works on projects related to waste reduction and resilient communities. Prior to joining the programmatic team, Megan worked on the Finance and HR team at Delta Institute. Megan holds a B.A. in Art History from Trinity University in San Antonio and an M.S. in Public Service Management with a graduate certificate in Metropolitan Planning and Development. Out of the office, Megan enjoys reading, riding her bike, and traveling, and particularly enjoys exploring the Great Lakes region.
Delta Institute FY19 Revenue