BOOST 2023: A Special Anniversary Celebrating Sustainability & Entrepreneurship

BOOST 2023: A Special Anniversary Celebrating Sustainability & Entrepreneurship

This year, we will host BOOST as part of a special year-long anniversary commemorating Delta Institute's 25th anniversary of collaborating with communities across the Midwest to solve complex, environmental challenges as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We will be sharing more details about the anniversary details, including BOOST, in the weeks to come. For now, please save the date of October 24 for BOOST 2023 to join us in person in Chicago or online as a hybrid event!
BOOST 2023: A Special Anniversary Celebrating Sustainability & Entrepreneurship

BOOST: October 24, 2023

BOOST, or “Building Opportunities for Original and Sustainable Thinking,” has been a longstanding program to support emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to promote sustainability in their communities with innovative products and solutions. This year, as a way to launch Delta’s year-long 25th anniversary celebration, we are hosting a very special anniversary BOOST, where we will be inviting back the all stars from our previous BOOST winners to share the impact of their work since they last won BOOST and win a larger investment. BOOST is an annual pitchfest where the audience decides the winners of the competition. Collectively, we plan to award a record $25,000 in funding to four exceptional BOOST winners in commemoration of Delta’s 25th anniversary. 


Join us to hear from this year’s Anniversary All-Star BOOST Finalists!

This is an event where YOU determine the grand prize winner! All guests who register for the event will be invited to vote for who becomes this year’s special anniversary BOOST award winner!

Please purchase your tickets by Monday, October 23. Any tickets sold after this date are welcome to join us at the event or online, though they will not be able to participate in the voting. 

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Chicago Eco House & Southside Blooms – Quilen Blackwell

BOOST 2017 Winner

“We are a systemic solution transforming vacant lots into sustainable urban flower farms, turning blight into economic opportunities for majority-Black inner-city communities. We train local youth as flower artisans and farmers through our K-8 and workforce development programs.” Click here to learn more about Chicago Eco House or here to learn more about Southside Blooms.

Quilen Blackwell of Chicago Eco House and Southside Blooms

Gardeneers – Selma Sims

BOOST 2014 Winner

“Gardeneers works with Chicago’s South- and Westside schools to contribute positively to the food system by supporting students in garden programs to build their knowledge, skills, and habits to become leaders who care for themselves, their environment, and their communities.” Click here to learn more about Gardeneers.

Selma Sims of Gardeneers

Lillian Augusta Hair – Jannice Newson

BOOST 2019 Winner

“Lillian Augusta’s plant-based braiding hair is a sustainable alternative to synthetic braiding hair. Our hair is plastic-free, irritation-free, and carcinogen-free. Experience hair without harm with Lillian Augusta.” Click here to learn more about Lillian Augusta Hair

Lillian Augusta

Zumwalt Acres – Sophie Lieberman

BOOST 2020 Winner

“Zumwalt Acres is a youth-led Jewish farm and research center that works to transform Midwestern agriculture by sequestering carbon, revitalizing soil, and producing nutritious food while supporting young adults as they advocate for equity and resiliency in food and agriculture.” Click here to learn more about Zumwalt Acres.

Zumwalt Acres


We would like to thank the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship for hosting BOOST this year! Kaplan Institute “believes that higher education is best realized when applied to positive, practical change.” Their mission is to guide Illinois Tech students on a direct path to becoming Chicago’s next tech leaders.

Kaplan Institute at Illinois Tech
3137 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616

Kaplan Institute at Illinois Tech exterior of building

Give with Confidence

Your contribution for this event supports this year’s four BOOST finalists as well as the overarching mission of Delta Institute. All supporters receive an email including the tax-deductible portion of their gift. Delta Institute is a 501c3 nonprofit with a Four-Star “Give with Confidence” rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Join us for food, drinks, and an evening of supporting local environmental leaders!

Enjoy tasty selections from Chartwells Catering’s Mediterranean Market Display menu, accommodating vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets:

  • Roasted eggplant, roasted peppers
  • Hummus with marinated olives, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, flatbreads, crostini, pita chips
  • Chermoula spiced chicken skewers served with tzatziki sauce
  • Mini falafel on pita with tomato, cucumber and Tahini dressing
  • Chickpea and tomato salad

Beverage selections: beer, wine, assorted sodas, sparking water, fruit-infused still water, lemonade, Starbucks regular coffee, assorted teas


American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact
United Airlines


William Blair


Peoples Gas Community Fund


RW Ventures



Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities start at $1,000. For questions about sponsorships or the event, please email Patrick Murphy, Delta’s Director for Donor Stewardship.


For those attending the event in-person, we will reserve front-row seating for those with disabilities; printed handouts of the presentation with large scale font will be available upon request. For those attending the event online, automated closed captions will be provided by Zoom. Guests are encouraged to bring their mobile devices to the event to cast their votes electronically, though this is not necessary; those without devices will still be able to vote by coordinating with a volunteer. Please email us with other questions or comments about accessibility.

Please note that this year’s BOOST event will be recorded via photography, videography, and audio recording. By attending BOOST 2023, guests grant Delta Institute permission to take photographs/video/audio of them and their property. Guests authorize Delta Institute, its assigns, and transferees to edit, copyright, use, and publish the same in print and/or electronically. Guests agree that Delta Institute may use such photographs/video/audio of them with or without their names and for any lawful purpose, including such purposes as publicity, web content, and reports. By attending BOOST 2023, guests acknowledge that they have completely read and fully understand Delta Institute’s BOOST 2023 Media Release Consent Form and COVID-19 Disclosure, and agree by all conditions, and they release any and all claims against Delta Institute for utilizing this material for publication, external promotion, or distribution via Delta Institute-managed channels.

Delta Institute recognizes and appreciates that COVID-19 is an ongoing consideration for events attendance and management. We encourage our guests to please connect with us another time and stay at home to rest if they are experiencing fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell, or any other symptom that may indicate COVID-19 infection. Further, we encourage our guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and welcome the wearing of masks to reduce community spread. Have fun and be safe!

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