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2021 Annual Impact Report

Elevate's Year in Review for 2021, where we detail our goals to transform, deliver, and build new healthier and more efficient services and properties.

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Back to
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2021 Annual
Impact Report

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Elevate's Year in Review for 2021, where we detail our goals to transform, deliver, and build new healthier and more efficient services and properties.

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Our Impact Statement

By 2024 Elevate will have improved the lives of over a million people and made the properties they use healthier and more efficient. In the process we will have saved 250,000 metric tons of CO2 and reinvested over $100M back into the communities where we live, work, and play.

We will be innovative partners in an equitable transition to more resilient cities, communities, and households. We will support a transition that delivers environmental justice, increases health, and builds equity and intergenerational wealth while combating climate change and preparing for its effects.

Elevate’s Impact to Date

Impact Lives Icon


people assisted by making their homes more efficient
Impact C02 Icon


metric tons of C02 saved
Impact Invest Icon

$92 million

reinvested back into communities
Elevate BG

We’re working towards an
Equitable Transition

Rooftop Solar Panel
Equitable Transition Grid

Making a rapid shift

An equitable transition is the shift to a carbon-free economy founded on environmental justice, which closes the wealth gap. This happens through innovative new approaches to chronic, systemic challenges; practical, people-centered delivery of real change; and equitably ensuring that those historically marginalized and denied opportunity have opportunities to thrive.

Elevate will transform the communities we work in with policies and innovations that promote equitable and just solutions to climate change.

Elevate will deliver people-centered programs which simultaneously reduce household costs, increase resident health, and improve building performance.

Elevate will build a diverse and inclusive work environment powered by integrated systems which enable our customers, partners, and our teams to do their most ambitious and effective work.



Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

In September 2021 Illinois passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, comprehensive clean energy legislation with equity at its core.

Elevate is a proud member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which advocated for the legislation over the last three years. The Coalition is made up of hundreds of passionate organizations from across the state who collaborated to make this happen.

Read more about the Act

Delmar Gillus, Elevate COO

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is, to put it in a nutshell, a gamechanger. It’s going to create literally tens of thousands of jobs in underserved and environmental justice communities and reduce, significantly, the amount of pollution in underserved communities.

Delmar Gillus, Elevate COO
Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Team

We’ve been working on creating a place where Black communities can build our own green, self-sustaining, wealth-building communities. The support of the Accelerator has put me that much closer to realizing a plan we’ve been fine-tuning for decades.

Naomi Davis, Blacks in Green, Justice40 Accelerator participant
Naomi Davis, Blacks in Green, Justice40 Accelerator participant


Justice40 Accelerator

In 2021 President Biden signed the historic Justice40 Initiative, which aims to direct at least 40% of the benefits from federal climate investments to communities overburdened by climate change and pollution.

In response, Elevate joined with national partners to create the Justice40 Accelerator, which helps community-led organizations access this federal funding. This year 52 organizations joined the Accelerator and received $25,000 in funding to support their participation.

Read more about the Justice40 Accelerator


Workforce and Small Business Development

As the clean energy economy grows, we’re supporting a diverse and knowledgeable workforce to grow with it.

In 2021, we worked with community partners across the country to expand training and accelerator programs in new states including Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Oregon. In Kansas City, we kicked off the Kauffman Contractor Accelerator that will provide training and resources to 35 diverse business contractors along with partners KC Building Energy Exchange, Seed Law, Business Services Collective, and Emerging Builders.

Read more about Elevate’s Contractor Accelerators

Adrienne Haynes, Seed Law, Partner
Workforce Training Team

Playing a critical role in conceptualizing the strategies and initiatives that would be relevant to the Kansas City building sector, Elevate brings its national expertise to a region eager to incorporate energy efficiency into the underserved areas of our market.

Ashley Sadowski, Building Energy Exchange KC


High-quality housing should be available to everyone, and through these decarbonization efforts we’re bringing it to La Paz Place residents like myself. The benefits like air conditioning and no gas bill are going to make our lives easier.

Lisa Andujar, Bickerdike team member and La Paz Place resident
Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Team


Building Decarbonization

Elevate invests in decarbonization at affordable housing to end on-site combustion of fossil fuels in buildings, which reduces carbon emissions and averts the worst impacts of climate change.

In 2021, Elevate worked with Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation to upgrade their La Paz Place apartments in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, home to families with incomes below 50% of the Chicago average. After installing energy efficiency upgrades back in 2018, we began the process of making La Paz Place fully electric. The project is estimated to reduce energy consumption by over 50% and save more than $10,000 a year in residents’ utility costs. And, we’re working on a plan to incorporate solar at La Paz Place in the near future.

Read more about our building decarbonization efforts


Building Efficiency Hubs for Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

For owners who want to improve their building but don’t know where to start, efficiency hubs provide the support and resources to navigate opportunities for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and solar. In 2021, we worked with partners nationally to lay the groundwork for these hubs in Dane County WI, Eau Claire WI, Portland OR, Kansas City MO, and Dayton OH.

In Dane County, Wisconsin we worked with Sustain Dane to establish the Efficiency Navigator specifically for naturally occurring affordable housing to help building owners create a roadmap to make their buildings more efficient and resilient. We assessed over 150 units of naturally occurring affordable housing, and are moving toward upgrades of over 100 units.

Read more about Building Efficiency Hubs

We are so appreciative and impressed with the quality and speed of the work. When we went in the units, we could tell how much warmer it was and how much tighter the airflow felt.

Sarah Bottjen, Madison North Apartments, Efficiency Navigator participant
Building Efficiency Hubs
Semilitas Chicago

Removing lead in water must be a priority; lead in water is a major health issue across the state. This should not be an issue about money, but a human right. We all have the right to have access to clean drinking water.

MariCarmen Macias, child care provider at Semilitas Chicago
Children have a right to clean drinking water


LeadCare Illinois

In 2021, Elevate launched LeadCare Illinois, a program that provides Illinois child care providers with free lead in water testing and training to protect children in their care from the harmful impacts of lead exposure. Providing lead testing and education for free makes it more accessible and equitable, ensuring all children are protected no matter where they live.

Over 490 child care providers have tested their water for lead for free through LeadCare Illinois. Together, these centers care for more than 10,500 children.

Read more about LeadCare Illinois



Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are central to Elevate’s mission. Our Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion (DREI) Committee is composed of 30 staff members who represent all parts of Elevate.

The DREI Committee led 21 engagement events and activities in 2021, reaching over 150 staff members. The DREI Committee has established an action plan that will shape Elevate’s policies and procedures now and in the future.

Read more about Elevate's DREI Committee

Semilitas Chicago

In the climate space, it’s our commitment to bring racial equity to the forefront of the conversation. We are committed to building a culture of anti-racism and dialogue among colleagues.

Briana Parker, Co-Chair of Elevate’s DREI Committee

Looking Forward

Anne Evans, CEO of Elevate

In spite of the immense climate challenges that we saw this year, when I look ahead at the years to come I am inspired by the resilience and the innovation of the people we work with every day. From affordable housing providers to workforce development organizations, people have big ideas about how to make change in their community, and they’re working every day to make their visions become reality.

Policy wins this year like the Justice40 Initiative and the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act mean that these big ideas are finally going to get the financial support they need to grow. I look forward to seeing these commitments to fighting climate change turn into action in the upcoming years.

Anne Evens, CEO, Elevate

Thank you!

Thank you for learning more about Elevate and our impact in 2021! View our financials and a list of our funders and board of directors below. Sign up for our newsletter and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more and to stay in touch in 2022.

2020 Financials

*Other includes Non-Operating and Fundraising expenses, of which Fundraising accounts for less than 1% of total expenses

2021 Financials 2021 Financials

Board of Directors
and Funders

Board of Directors

  • John Cleveland
    Board Chair
  • Anne Evens
  • Bob Weissbourd
  • Dave Shryock
  • Denise G. Fairchild
  • Edgar Ramirez
  • Jennifer Tescher
  • Kimberly Lewis
  • Leah Turnbull
  • Margaret O’Dell
  • Scott Bernstein
  • Sharonda Williams-Tack
  • Susan Page Estes


  • Bank of America
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • The Builders Initiative
  • Center for Neighborhood Technology
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • Citi Foundation
  • City of Chicago
  • City of Detroit
  • City of Evanston
  • Cook County, IL
  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Energy Foundation
  • Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
  • Google
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Illinois Power Agency
  • Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation
  • Joyce Foundation
  • The JPB Foundation
  • The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • McDougal Family Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • Mott Foundation
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Nexant Inc.
  • Partnership for Southern Equity
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Samerian Foundation
  • Southland Development Authority
  • TRC Solutions
  • US Department of Energy
  • US Environmental Protection Agency