Banyan Buzz
November, 2014
Banyan Community invites you to join us under the Banyan tree as we share our joys, challenges, and life events while living and growing together!  Banyan Buzz is our attempt to bring you into the center of our conversations to celebrate with us.  Enjoy!
Joani Essenburg, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Time for Giving Thanks 
$100,000 goal by Dec. 31
Hard to believe that in a little over one month, 2014 comes to a close.  It has been a banner year here at Banyan.  I continue to be amazed at the impact of Banyan’s work as a Christian Community Development Organization.  Partnerships are strong and moving us forward in this work of developing youth, strengthening families, and creating community - together.  WE are SO THANKFUL for the blessing of Banyan in our lives.  We are committed learners, reconciled people, leading citizens and future oriented because WE ARE BANYAN!
Please consider a robust year end gift so that we can jump right into 2015 with a strong start!!  We have done so much, but we have such great opportunity ahead of us, won’t you join us??
In this Issue
Thank You for  
Giving to the Max
We are grateful to everyone that supported the work of Banyan Community on Give to the Max Day. The generosity of Minnesotans was realized this year with over $18 million dollars raised for nonprofits around the state. We are proud to report that almost $7,000 was given to Banyan at this critical year end time. We are very good stewards of every dollar and have earned a seal of approval from the Charities Review Council.
Countdown to Groundbreaking 
September 2015
We are now $950,000 away from breaking ground on our new, permanent home at 2529 13th Ave S. This new home will double our capacity to develop youth, strengthen families, and create community.
We have an active waiting list of over 100 youth and their families that want to be a part of the new 'norm' in the Phillips neighborhood – Banyan. Our new home will allow us to not only double our capacity, but also extend the reaches of programming by adding a preschool partner and expanding our adult education opportunities.
With over 15 years of experience in Phillips, Banyan Community is the ‘best kept secret’ to closing the achievement gap AND overcoming the cycle of generational poverty by building upon the strengths of neighborhood residents.
We need to raise $950,000 by June 2015 to stay on schedule. We can do that by sharing the secret – please, tell your friends and family about Banyan! And by asking our loyal supporters - have you made your capital gift?
$1 Million Dollar Milestone in Education 
The Higher Grounds Scholarship Program reached an important milestone this year - $1 million dollars invested in the high school education of Banyan youth. Our youth attend high performing, college prep high schools to ensure graduation and college acceptance.
10 years, 57 youth and $1M. Watch this quick video to see what those numbers look like.
Banyan begins working with youth and their families in Kindergarten and that work culminates with a Higher Ground Scholarship for high school. Starting early ensures youth are prepared for the rigor of a college prep high school and graduation rates of 100%. This program is the capstone of our work.
Banyan Board of Directors 
Banyan’s Board of Directors is an active and engaged group ready to connect with you about resources for Banyan’s future.  Feel free to contact us.
Banyan Board:
Kyle Didier, Chair
Shelia Jones, Vice Chair
Sue Jensen, Secretary
Sven Wehrwein, Treasurer
Ed Egan
Rich Peacha
Mark Schulze
Barry Lieske
Ayo Olawole
David Tynes
We are Banyan.... 
Beautiful, Brilliant, Bold, and Beyond our Years
These words do not describe poverty… they describe Banyan People… people that are living in a poverty neighborhood, but are actively working to alleviate the pressures that poverty places in our lives.
WE are Beautiful (Reconciled People), we reflect the beautiful diversity of our neighborhood. We are from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures… we learn about each other. We realize that we are stronger together than apart by building trust-based relationships.
WE are Brilliant (Committed Learners), we are not a school but we support learning, we believe in the development of youth- starting in Kindergarten all the way to and through college, we develop families, community, employees; development is in our DNA.
WE are Bold (Leading Citizens), we have 18 block clubs formed that reach out to 1400 people, there are proud and engaged youth and adults speaking on behalf of our community, our adults at Banyan discovered their strengths through Strength Finders, took Financial Literacy classes… and look forward to many more opportunities for Adult education and leadership when we are in our new building…
WE are Beyond our Years (Future Oriented) – Youth and Adults are making plans for the future… more common to hear, “oh I am planning to go to that meeting or do this activity…” than “oh, what are you talking about??” Third graders are talking about going to college and high school youth are receiving college acceptance letters… (average 3-5 letters per student).
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Annual Dinner Update
We are Banyan…Beautiful, Brilliant, Bold, and Beyond our Years, was the theme of the Annual Banyan Dinner at the American Swedish Institute on November 9th. Thank you to those that attended and supported our work. We raised over $80,000 towards the operating budget and the capital campaign at the event. There is still time to make a gift before year end, to ensure we remain financially strong!
Glimpse Into Banyan 
Ever wonder about what happens at Banyan?
If so, this short video is for you! Sit back and get a glimpse into all the fun and energy that is Banyan, every day! We’ve packed in photos from almost every Banyan program (youth, families, and community events) into a minute and a half! Capped off by the insight of youth sharing their thoughts on what Banyan means to them.
We Day 2014 
Young people have the power to change the world!
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At Banyan, we couldn’t agree more! Our youth and families are proof that by working together, we can truly change our neighborhood and the world.
We Day brings young people together to celebrate the actions that they are taking in their local and global communities and to inspire another year of change by sharing the passion of world leaders and entertainers. This year, 20 Banyan youth attended the 2nd annual We Day at the Excel Energy Center with 18,000 other youth.
A high point of the day was meeting and posing for pictures with Craig Kielburger (co-founder of Free the Children and We to Me). Last year, a Banyan youth spoke to a packed venue on the importance of Banyan in her life. 
Click here to watch the video of Marissa at We Day 2013
Community Council Strategic Planning
Community Council took on the task of Strategic Planning in conjunction with staff in a white board session with 12 members that have over 134 combined years at Banyan. There were definitely qualified to answer the question -  What is Banyan good at right now?
  • Accomplishing goals/planning
  • Scholarship/Education support/motivating kids to succeed
  • Family Support/Trust based relationships
The next question was harder - In what ways should Banyan grow in the next 5 years (as we move into a new home)? After the exercise, one of the members declared that it was all possible, “Because we are the DREAMBUILDERS”. Hearing the Community Council rename themselves ‘dream builders’ was monumental. Can you imagine? We are people that feel and know poverty as it rends our community and our families, but now adult leaders at Banyan are realizing that they are the dream builders?? That is how we are beautiful, brilliant, bold, and beyond our years. That is the work of Banyan.
Nat'l Honor Society & Honor Roll 
Banyan youth are well represented!
Article ImageThe National Honor Society inducted new members at a ceremony this month. 57% of Banyan youth are now members of the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.
The ceremony also celebrated youth that earned a place on the De La Salle High School honor roll, 65% of Banyan youth were recognized in this category!
We are very proud of the accomplishments of Banyan youth and the recognition they receive from their school and outside organizations! WE are Brilliant!
Apples and Pumpkins 
Banyan Families head to the Orchard
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Gatherings are one way Banyan connects neighbors to each other in order to build a strong community. These Gatherings provide the opportunity for families and neighbors to experience new things and build traditions, together.
‘Apples and Pumpkins’ happens every October and brings busses and vans loaded with Banyan youth and families to the apple orchard. This event is one that families plan far in advance to ensure they can attend. Young and old work hard to re-arrange their schedules to be available that Saturday. Experiencing the apple orchard has become an important tradition for many Banyan families and builds community in Phillips.
This year was a chilly day, but that didn’t deter the over 200 that gathered from having an incredible experience picking apples, selecting pumpkins, and making memories.
Art Workshop 
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

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This year’s theme for Middle School Art Workshop is Let Your Light Shine.  Too often we are shy, cautious, and even afraid to be ourselves and to share our gifts.  Each one of us has different gifts, talents and strengths that we have been blessed with.  The theme this year encourages us to embrace our gifts and use them to make our neighborhood and the world a better place. 
Over MEA weekend (October 16-18) Banyan middle school youth gathered to paint a collection of pictures around this theme with artist, Anne C Brink.
Together the youth and artist created 19 individual canvases and one large group banner.  After completing their painting they write an artist statement which explains why they painted the picture they did.  The canvases, artist statements and the large banner then go on tour to area churches and galleries to let their light shine. 
Shine (v.):
To give forth or glow with light; shed or cast light.
To excel, or be the best.
Annual Report 
It's in the Mail!Article Image
Watch your mailbox for the 2013-2014 Annual Report! The report includes a summary of all the great work and accomplishments of Banyan Community this year. Enjoy every picture, story, and statistic that celebrates youth, family, and community.

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Banyan Community
2529 13th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404