Deputy Director Delia Ramirez comes to Community Renewal Society from Common Cause Illinois, where she served as Campaign Manager, staffed their voting rights work and oversaw development and communications. Born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, she was involved with her local church from a very young age, which provided her with leadership and travel opportunities to Russia, Palestine, Bolivia and Grenada. These experiences inspired a strong commitment to community development and built a skill-set which equipped her to act upon that commitment. The life-changing experiences of these trips at a very young age, her family’s story of migration and resilience, along with the shelter and soup kitchen ministry work of her local church, inspired Delia to pursue justice studies and commit her life to that work.
At the age of 21 she became Executive Director of the Center for Changing Lives (formerly Humboldt Park Social Services), a role she held for nine years. In 2005 she expanded the capacity and impact of the organization by opening The Center for Changing Lives (CCL) – a community support center that provides housing, employment, financial counseling and case management services for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Logan Square and Humboldt Park areas. Under Ms. Ramirez’s leadership, the organization tripled its operating budget, quadrupled its number of employees, and increased its service delivery to over 2,500 community households.
In addition to serving on multiple local and statewide coalitions and boards, she has served on a variety of local and national committees and boards within the United Methodist Church, including the Executive Committee of the United Methodist Church’s National Hispanic Plan, as a jurisdictional delegate to MARCHA (the Methodist faith-based advocacy caucus representing Latinos in the United States), and the National Community Developers Program. In 2013 she completed an Emerging Leader Fellowship with The Chicago Community Trust. The completion of that fellowship (together with her proven ability to address community issues) moved the United Methodist Church of Northern Illinois to appoint Ms. Ramirez as Director of Administration and Community Engagement for Humboldt Park United Methodist Church. During her time there, she oversaw the expansion of its social justice ministry center and helped the congregation through a sudden pastoral transition.
Ms. Ramirez received a 35 under 35 award from Community Renewal Society in 2007, which recognized her as a “fresh voice” in the fight to eliminate racism and poverty.