Delta Institute’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

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You’re invited to our 25th birthday party!

In 1998, Delta Institute was founded to address the environmental and economic issues that Midwest communities faced from disinvestment, systemic inequity, and policy decisions. Since then, we’ve collaborated on projects that benefit the lives of millions of Midwesterners in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

On May 21st, we’re marking a major milestone in our history with our 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Chicago History Museum — and we’d love to see you there!


It’s sure to be a night to remember. Together, we’ll enjoy –

  • 4 wonderful museum exhibits
  • A live band & DJ
  • A delicious variety of local eats
  • Beer, wine, & spirits — including signature cocktails featuring regionally-sourced ingredients
  • Games on the museum’s beautiful patio overlooking Lincoln Park
  • Trivia & scavenger hunting
  • Remarks from members of our lovely community
  • Reconnecting & networking with fellow Midwestern environmentalists!
Photo / Chicago History Museum

Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Our collaborative solution-oriented focus has established us as a trustworthy partner to many government institutions, small businesses, community groups, and fellow nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest. We’ve received many accolades for our work throughout our history: winning the 2023 Indiana Governor’s Award in Environmental Excellence, receiving Illinois Green’s Emerald Award for Green Innovation, and placing as one of six finalists for the Pritzker-Traubert Foundation’s inaugural Chicago Prize, as examples. We have also been consistently recognized for our commitment to nonprofit accountability, earning Candid’s Platinum Seal of Transparency and Four-Star “Give with Confidence” ratings from Charity Navigator – designations received by fewer than 0.1% of all 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States.


“In 2004, I joined this six-year-old innovative nonprofit named Delta Institute as a Programs Associate not knowing what I was getting into, I’m so proud of the journey that I’ve been able to go on with this organization, and I’m grateful to all the many, many partners, staff, Board, communities, and supporters who have worked with us toward a more sustainable and equitable future.”
Bill Schleizer

CEO, Delta Institute


Our CEO is far from the only one who’s been with Delta through its many transformations. So too has Vanessa Roanhorse, Board Director and CEO of Roanhorse Consulting, dedicated herself to our ever-evolving organization:


“I’ve come full circle with Delta Institute, having contributed as a staff member from 2009-2015, and now am the Vice Chair and Incoming Chair on the Board of Directors. To see the transformation and expansion of Delta’s work in many communities across the Midwest has been awe-inspiring to witness, knowing how complex the issues are and the creative thinking required to co-create long term solutions that center people and planet.”

Vanessa Roanhorse

CEO, Roanhorse Consulting

Collage of photos with text reading "25 Years"

We’re proud of our projects and partners.

Since its inception, Delta has been instrumental in advancing hundreds of innovative and inclusive community-driven projects throughout the Midwest, like developing the City of Chicago’s Waste Strategy in 2021, an initiative that has helped the City improve its waste reduction efforts. We have been thrilled to see the city enthusiastically embrace our strategy with the rollout of community compost in summer 2023, and we’re optimistic about other wide-reaching changes that will come with further implementation of our plan.

While we love our headquarters, Delta has always stretched beyond its hometown — and we’re particularly excited about two long term efforts that allow us to collaborate with dozens of government organizations throughout the Midwest: We’ve planted tens of thousands of trees throughout the region over the past quarter century and are continuing that progress with current efforts to establish a Tree Planting Consortium in Northwest Indiana. And in 2023, the US EPA recognized Delta Institute as one of 29 Environmental Finance Centers supporting the agency’s commitment to advancing water equity and access for all.

We’re honored to have played a role in establishing other independent operations that share our mission — such as Rebuilding Exchange (RX). RX is a nonprofit social enterprise founded by Delta in 2008 with a mission of creating a market for reclaimed building materials. 15 years later, RX is still expanding its impact with deconstruction services, two resell stores (in Chicago and Evanston), and workforce training.

“Rebuilding Exchange began as a project at Delta Institute in 2008 that was then spun off as a separate venture. Since then, we have grown to two locations that serve the Chicagoland area and offer our community a wide range of services, including our reclaimed building material stores, workforce training programs, creative reuse workshops, and deconstruction services. Both of our organizations have had a tremendous year of growth, so coming together to toast our efforts of creating a more sustainable future and community means a lot to us and those we serve.”

Aina Gutierrez

Executive Director, Rebuilding Exchange

We know we can’t achieve a more equitable future alone.

And that’s why we strive to support other early-stage entrepreneurs develop sustainability-focused ventures through our “BOOST” program. The program has provided a platform for 20 start-ups like Block Bins, Chicago Tool Library, EcoShip, Gardeneers, Lillian Augusta Hair, Southside Blooms, and Urban Canopy to collectively win more than $100,000 in small business grants to further their ventures.

BOOST is an example of the amazing and creative work that the Delta Emerging Leaders (DELs) Associate Board does. Through BOOST as well as the annual Green Soapbox panel discussion, the DELs are instrumental in advancing Delta’s reach, culture, and contributions to the ongoing conversation of climate-resilience — and we are so grateful for their dedication!

The theme of our May 21st event echoes our long-standing focus: celebrating the voices of the Midwest.

As such, the planning committee for the 25th Anniversary Celebration is comprised of a coalition of the nonprofit’s volunteers, supporters, and partners, like Ghian Foreman, President and CEO of Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative.

“Our three-year-old project partnership with Delta Institute has been incredibly fruitful in our Terra Firma project. Our shared work has emphasized collecting community-driven data around Green Infrastructure in Chicago’s South Shore, Woodlawn, and Washington Park neighborhoods, and now we’re ready to celebrate.”
Ghian Foreman

President & CEO, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative

It’s not only a fun night, it’s a meaningful one for the communities we serve.

All proceeds from the event will support Delta Institute’s environmental, economic, and climate goals.

Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are available now for families, companies, foundations, and philanthropists wishing to showcase their support of Delta’s environmental, economic, and social programs.


For questions, please contact Patrick Murphy at or 312-554-0900 ext. 31.

Stay tuned

Follow Delta Institute on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram for updates on event activities and the rest of our work!

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