Community Improvement & Capacity Building,
Mission: Delta Institute collaborates with communities throughout the Midwest to solve complex environmental challenges. We envision a region in which all communities and landscapes thrive through an integrated approach to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Since our founding in 1998, Delta Institute has worked throughout the Midwest, in both urban and rural communities.
We maximize our impact, and for every grant dollar we raise, we invest more than four times the amount of funding into our partner communities and geographies. Cumulatively, Delta has catalyzed more than $165 million in the Midwest during the past two decades.
Delta Institute’s two primary drivers to enact environmental and economic change in our home region are centered on Thriving Landscapes and Communities.
Results: As part of our Resilient Communities initiative, Delta launched a multi-year air quality monitoring initiative called Shared Air, Shared Action in four Chicago neighborhoods with disproportionately poor environmental quality. Partnering with community-based organizations and public health groups, our work will strengthen their communal voice on the quality of their air. Delta assists communities with vacant land redevelopment, which includes polluted properties called brownfields. We identify, prioritize and evaluate land for revitalization by assessing economic, environmental and market factors through the lens of community needs. For example, we provided technical assistance to the non-profit Grow Greater Englewood in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood to cleanup and redevelop an elevated rail line as an edible garden.
Through substantial partnership arrangement with the Wallace Center at Winrock International and their Pasture Project initiative, Delta's Regenerative Food Systems work is seeking to scale the grass-fed beef and dairy sector throughout Illinois through a regenerative lens. Four years ago, Delta Institute helped launch the Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) as part of our Regenerative Food Systems initiative area. The AGC is a group of diverse collaborators that are working to build demand for small-batch artisan grains in Chicago and the Midwest.
Delta has partnered with Hobart and Michigan City, Indiana to implement green infrastructure installations throughout the cities as part of our Green Infrastructure initiative. Delta assisted with grant and contractor procurement and project management. The four installations collectively will provide an additional 800,000 gallons of stormwater management capacity, which minimizes flooding risks and prevents pollutants from entering Lake Michigan.
As part of our strengthening secondary markets for reclaimed materials, Delta has successfully implemented many waste reduction and deconstruction projects to build the capacity of our municipal, county, regional, and corporate partners to manage their waste better and more effectively. This includes several reports and resources, including a market analysis for the City of St. Louis on demolition and deconstruction opportunities, and a municipal waste resource kit to decrease the disposal rate of reusable materials.
Over the past year, as part of our Land Stewardship efforts, Delta has worked with farmers near Allegan, Michigan to implement conservation practices on over 800 acres, reducing 137 tons of sediment and 535 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Kalamazoo River. Additionally, over 100 practitioners, including farmers, land trusts, NGOs, and local/state/federal government agencies use the tools and models developed by Delta to improve environmental outcomes throughout the Midwest.
Target demographics: integrate environmental sustainability and economic development
Geographic areas served: Communities throughout the Midwest United States
Programs: energy efficiency for commercial businesses to reduce carbon emissions; nutrient management and ecosystems services to improve the health of our air, soil, and water; and waste-based economic development to divert materials from the waste stream and create jobs.