PLATINUM2024

DELTA INSTITUTE

Creating a more resilient home for all Midwesterners.

Chicago, IL   |  https://delta-institute.org

Mission

Delta Institute collaborates with communities to solve complex environmental challenges throughout the Midwest. We create and implement solutions to Midwestern environmental, economic, and climate challenges today, so that our home and region are more resilient, equitable, and innovative tomorrow. Delta exists because environmental, economic, and climate issues hit communities—urban and rural—through disinvestment, systemic inequity, and policy decisions. We collaborate at the community level to solve our home region’s new and legacy issues, by focusing on the self-defined goals and needs of our partners. It’s quite likely that you—or someone you know—lives, works, or passes through a community that Delta has helped since our founding in 1998.

Notes from the nonprofit

Delta exists because environmental, economic, and climate issues hit communities—urban and rural—through disinvestment, systemic inequity, and policy decisions. We collaborate at the community level to solve our home region’s new and legacy issues, by focusing on the self-defined goals and needs of our partners. Our work takes us to population centers like Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit; to mid-sized cities such as Gary and South Bend, Indiana; to Great Lakes coastal towns like Michigan City, Indiana and Muskegon, Michigan; and to rural communities and watersheds with tens of thousands of acres of farmland and waterways across our region. It’s quite likely that you—or someone you know—lives, works, or passes through a community that Delta has helped since our founding in 1998. Acting now is not only a pressing climate change issue, but also an issue of equity and environmental justice.

Ruling year info

1998

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. William (Bill) H. Schleizer

Main address

35 E Upper Wacker Dr Suite 1760

Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-4210191

NTEE code info

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What does a more resilient and equitable Midwest look like to you? We think it includes conservation-focused agriculture, reduced risks of climate change by proactively preparing communities, and better regional water quality. We also think that all these efforts must be inclusive to engage and benefit as many Midwesterners as possible—since all of us have a piece of the puzzle. Through our work, Delta Institute benefits more than five million Midwesterners by transitioning one million acres to conservation-focused practices, and by improving water quality and reducing flooding by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons. By 2025 we will achieve these goals through our agriculture, climate, water, and community development projects. Delta Institute is creating a more resilient, equitable, and innovative home for all Midwesterners—as we believe acting now is not only a pressing climate change issue, but also an issue of environmental justice.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Nature-Based Climate Solutions

Delta Institute assists communities by integrating natural climate solutions and Green Infrastructure (GI) to reduce climate change impacts by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons and leveraging $100 million in municipal GI investment. We focus on communities who are disproportionately affected by flooding and climate change, to collaboratively improve their environment, mitigate local impacts of climate change, and strengthen their neighborhoods’ resilience to increasingly damaging weather events.

Although all Midwestern communities are dealing with the impacts of climate change, Delta Institute is focusing its work with communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change: environmentally, economically, socially, and historically.

Integrating communities’ current infrastructure with natural and green infrastructure—including solutions like rain gardens, stormwater planters, permeable pavements, and bioswales—will help the Midwest address flooding and resiliency.

Population(s) Served

Delta Institute supports 1,000 farmers as they transition to sustainable and regenerative practices, thus improving the environment, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and strengthening a farmer’s bottom line. We forecast that by 2025, one million Midwestern agricultural acres will successfully transition to conservation-focused farming practices, so our region’s primary economic driver can be more environmentally and financially sound.

While the environmental benefits of regenerative agriculture are plentiful, these practices provide significant economic benefits for rural communities. Farmers can see increased profitability in the long-term by using less input costs like synthetic fertilizers. Using regenerative agriculture increases working lands’ resilience to extreme events like flooding, ultimately leading to more profitable farms.

Population(s) Served

Delta Institute prides itself on being responsive to the needs of its partners and responding to what they define as being the most important goal, activity, project, or taking a new approach to improving their local environmental and economic outcomes. We have decades of experience moving sustainable priorities forward in creative and innovative ways.

Since our earliest years, the team at Delta has focused on supporting communities’ sustainability needs. Our Sustainability and Support Services are designed to respond to invitations in community-led planning efforts and provide direct technical assistance to public and private sector partners, which include a wide array of sectors in which Delta has sizable experience. We forecast that by 2025 Delta will work with more than 250 partner communities while securing $40M in external investment and creating 100 practical tools, resources, strategies, and public plans.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of communities partnered with.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Delta exists because environmental and economic issues hit communities—both urban and rural—through disinvestment, inequity, and policy decisions. We implement projects throughout the entire Midwest.

Reducing flooding risk through green infrastructure, increasing stormwater gallon capacity.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Delta works with communities throughout the Midwest to plan and implement green infrastructure projects and designs into their stormwater management strategy, reducing flooding and polluted runoff.

Number of trees planted to decrease flooding and pollutants, beautify neighborhoods, and expand canopy.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Delta operates multiple green infrastructure and forest canopy projects (currently/recently in Indiana and Michigan) to improve local ecosystems, expand canopy coverage, and reduce stormwater runoff.

Number of acres of farmland that implement at least one new conservation practice.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Farmers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Delta works with landowners throughout Illinois (and the broader Midwest) to implement conservation practices that regenerate the soil, reduce negative impacts, and offer new revenue options.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Organization-Wide
Through our work, Delta Institute benefits more than five million Midwesterners by transitioning one million acres to conservation-focused practices, and by improving water quality and reducing flooding by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons. By 2025 we will achieve these goals through our agriculture, climate, water, and community development projects.

This is what a more resilient, equitable, and innovative Midwest looks like.

Resilient Agriculture
Delta Institute supports 1,000 farmers as they transition to sustainable and regenerative practices, thus improving the environment, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and strengthening a farmer’s bottom line. We forecast that by 2025, one million Midwestern agricultural acres will successfully transition to conservation-focused farming practices, so our region’s primary economic driver can be more environmentally and financially sound.

Nature-Based Climate Solutions
Delta Institute assists municipalities by integrating natural climate solutions and Green Infrastructure (GI) to reduce climate change impacts by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons and leveraging $100 million in municipal GI investment. We focus on communities that are disproportionately affected by flooding and climate change, to collaboratively improve their environmental indicators, mitigate local impacts of climate change, and strengthen their neighborhoods’ resilience.

Sustainability and Support Services
Delta Institute assists municipalities by integrating natural climate solutions and Green Infrastructure (GI) to reduce climate change impacts by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons and leveraging $100 million in municipal GI investment. We focus on communities that are disproportionately affected by flooding and climate change, to collaboratively improve their environmental indicators, mitigate local impacts of climate change, and strengthen their neighborhoods’ resilience.

All Delta projects hinge completely on intentional, respectful, and authentic inclusion of our community partners. We work with more than 300 partners in communities throughout the Midwest, ranging from small rural towns in Iowa, Michigan, and southern Illinois with only a few thousand residents each, to large regions within Chicagoland and counties with millions of residents—creating equitable and economically feasible solutions to environmental challenges that each community faces. Delta’s partner communities retain the economic, environmental, and social benefits from our collaboration, and the tools and resources that are co-created are used by local change-makers and adapted and spread for wider impact. It is through this open and transparent approach--without any “ownership” of final resources--that communities may move progress toward their self-defined and described goals.

Investing in partnerships and relationship building is critical. Delta has demonstrated its expertise in environmentally sustainable development and has earned a reputation as an impact-oriented, innovative, and collaborative partner for government, business, and community organizations throughout the Midwest. Delta staff have demonstrated expertise around community planning, project management, facilitation, land use planning, brownfield redevelopment and ports related economic development. Delta has led several successful community planning projects in which we lend capacity to municipalities, community groups and other stakeholders seeking to transform underutilized land into assets that confer benefits to the existing residents and businesses. Delta has been the “backbone organization” in large collaborative and collective impact efforts that require strong internal management and financial reporting infrastructure.

Delta Institute has nearly 25 years of experience developing innovative models to support working lands conservation, and in recent years, Delta has explored how similar approaches might provide long-term, sustainable change in our regional (with national implications) food chain. This work has resulted in broad partnerships, improved decision support systems, and funding mechanisms. Delta manages grant-supported work within the parameters outlined in our Quality and Environment Management System (QEMS), which provides a framework for management of documents, communications, and finances, enabling Delta to complete projects on time and within grant parameters. Delta Institute also has the financial management systems in place to comply with federal and private foundation grant requirements. Over the last 5 years, Delta has invested in state-of-the-art project management and financial tools to ensure transparency and accountability for organizational operations.

Our current and recent Nature-Based Climate Solutions goals and efforts include:
Increase adoption and integration of green and natural infrastructure. Projects include:
1) Partnering with communities to install GI, ranging from riparian restoration to wetland creation to municipal/built stormwater management projects to reduce flooding and improve water quality to grassroots efforts which prioritize biodiversity and economic improvement for Chicago’s South Side.
2)Sharing our GI designs guide, an open-source guide with standard GI techniques for community use; and,
Planting thousands of trees throughout the Midwest to capture as much water as possible—such as through our recent project in Oceana County, Michigan—while also hosting capacity-building workshops that advance long term forestry management at the local level.

Create an integrated administration program to scale up implementation of green and natural infrastructure. Projects include:
1) Collaborating with a cluster of public and private sector partners through RISC Solutions to provide tools, leverage knowledge, and execute $10 million in investments for improved water quality and more green neighborhoods; and,
2) Partnering directly with municipalities to design strategies for implementing GI, such as in our Gary, Indiana GI plan.

Our primary Resilient Agriculture goals/efforts include:
Standardize Soil Health Testing and Increase its Use as a Metric for Farm Management. Projects include:
1)Creating a soil health testing guide so that more farmers can benefit from carbon markets and incentive programs;
2) Addressing the perceived asset value—or lack thereof—of regeneratively farmed land; and,
3) Developing a land valuation approach that incorporates soil health, with a keen focus on farmland appraisals.

Create an Integrated Administration Program to Scale-up Conservation Practice Implementation. Projects include:
1)Assessing current conditions and providing strategic recommendations with regional expansion of conservation practices throughout Southeast Michigan, with statewide (and beyond) implications;
2) Evaluating the gaps, needs, and interconnectedness between conservation practice adoption and incentive programs;
3) Sequestering carbon, reducing nutrient pollution, and improving water quality through land management (including pay for performance in target watersheds); and,
4) Creating Midwest-specific value chains that center regeneratively produced materials while investing in local farmers.

Our Sustainability and Support Services portfolio of work advances a variety of projects including:
-Coordinating implementation of the Chicago Waste Strategy 2021 with the City of Chicago, advancing 63 recommendations to address waste and materials management;
-Catalyzing private sector investment through sustainable development on Chicago’s Southeast Side, ultimately creating community-led sustainable development guidelines for the revitalization of vacant brownfields.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

DELTA INSTITUTE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

DELTA INSTITUTE

Board of directors
as of 05/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Sanjiv Sinha

CIS

Term: 2022 - 2024

Sanjiv Sinha

Kevin Kalus

Niharika Hanglem

Vanessa Roanhorse

Jaré Akchin

Eira Corral Sepúlveda

Karl Analo

Jessie Deelo

David Fording

Mike Harrington

David South

Jare Akchin

Maddie Demo

Bradley Grams

Liz Alexander

Lottie Ferguson

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/17/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/05/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.