Happy New Year!
Growth and Capacity Building in 2017
The New Year is a time of beginnings and growth, and at Banyan we have much to look forward to in our first full year in our new home. This year we will be building capacity to create leadership and educational opportunities for adults in our neighborhood, as well as increasing and improving our youth and community programs.
Next month we kick off the 20th year of Kids Club, spring will bring graduations, summer will be filled with Cool Off Days and camps along with Block Parties, and this fall will bring our largest group of elementary and middle schoolers in programs to date. We look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead and thank you so much for your engagement and support. Banyan is blessed to have faithful donors walk along with us as we grow and bring new supporters to join us. We are excited that our building is completely paid for, which means this year is all about building relationships and programs!
2016 - A Year of Lasts and Firsts
Thank You for making it Spectacular
What an amazing year at Banyan with many blessings, and the ‘lasts’ and ‘firsts’ resulting from our move. We are so grateful for your support of Banyan this year and every year! Your gifts and prayers are what allow Banyan to continue to develop youth, strengthen families, and create community in the Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis. Here is a sampling of the changes in 2016:
- Last time adding youth and families to a waiting list with no end in sight!
- Last time sharing office space with four people!
- Last time having one room that has three different programs going on at one time.
- Finishing each other’s sentences because we are so close to each other!
- Carrying groceries and supplies up TWO FLIGHTS of stairs!!
- Last Business Leaders Breakfast in a funky old gym!
- Sharing a building with five other tenants and trying to work out a schedule.
- Completing the building of our New Home, cutting the ribbon, and moving in!
- Welcoming NEW youth and families to Banyan, first time in six years!
- New Employees! Receptionists, Maintenance, Program Staff (many from the community!)
- Implementing a program database
- Going digital on timecards
- Engaging a partner to provide a warm, hearty snack every day for youth and families
- Hosting the Banyan Dinner in our new space, celebrating Bridget (a Banyan parent)
Asset-Based Community Development
(Part 4 of 4)
Tim Essenburg, Co-Founder of Banyan Community and Professor of Economics, Bethel University
The first three parts in the series introduced the concept of community development, assets or capitals (importantly social capital), and alliances. We can now bring these together in a four-level framework offered by Ferguson and Stoutland.
Level one are the grassroots organizations without paid staff. A block club is a good example. Level two are the frontline organizations such as churches, business and schools that residents patronize. Level three are the “local support organizations,” including the policymakers, funders and businesses which support level two and “make up the authorizing and support environment for level [two].” Finally, level four comprises the “state, regional and national support entities” that “support levels [three] and [two]. Level four organizations “make the laws and regulations within which the system operated and they assemble and control resources that fund projects and pay salaries.” Inside this framework we can now see that Banyan Community is an asset-based, frontline, community development organization that “develops youth, strengthens families and creates community.”
In the figure below, I offer examples of each level.
Twenty-five years ago, all Joani and I could see were liabilities, that “everything is broken.” Somewhere along the way we turned our attention to assets and built Banyan Community from the ground up as an asset-based, community development corporation, with a solid foundation of social capital and alliances. Our new facility presents an opportunity to not only expand our reach, we can also enrich our community.
Reconnect over the Holiday Break
Banyan now has 22 youth in college! When they come home for the holidays they can't wait to stop by Banyan and see old friends, staff, and the youth.
In addition to the 22 in college, ten have already graduated! Two even have advanced degrees! Another three are on track to graduate this spring.
Our first year students are making the transition quite well and report an average GPA over 3.0!
We are so very proud of how hard Banyan Scholars work and the support of the Banyan team helping youth and familiies navigate college and beyond! #TransformationinPhillips
Kids Club Turns 20!
A Snapshot from the First Kids Club
Kids Club was the first Banyan program back in 1997, a year before Banyan was officially a nonprofit, and is still a favorite. When the weather turns wintery, the buzz starts at Banyan – “when does Kids Club start?”, “Is it time for Kids Club?”
This year marks Kids Club 20th anniversary. It all began in the Essenburg’s home - the living room, kitchen, and front hall to be exact. On Thursday nights from January through May neighborhood kids came over to share Bible stories, eat snack, make crafts, and play games. The programming elements have been relatively the same over the years- but have grown from twenty kids and three adults (Tim and Joani Essenburg and Nettie McHie who are still involved with Kids Club today) to over 95 elementary and middle school kids and 20 volunteers and staff.
Kids Club and Thursday nights will be developing into a family time - with older youth coming back to volunteer, children bonding with a caring adult, and parents participating in classes, club time, or just taking a break!
The annual Birthday Bash will include lighting 20 candles and singing Happy Birthday to Kids Club AND all the kids!
Sam Olson, Legacy as First Program Director
Big Shoes to Fill
We are sad to say farewell to Sam Olson as Banyan’s Program Director, but wish him well in his new role. Sam is leaving to support his wife's career by taking on more with their children. He will also pursue consulting with non-profits.
When Sam joined Banyan in 2010, he was employee number four. What a difference six years and his tireless work has made in Banyan’s history! During his tenure, Sam shaped and solidified our twenty programs with strong evaluation tools, implemented a program database to track our progress, helped launch Community Council, co-created the Banyan Scholars program, and developed a youth leadership and employment program, all the while maintaining strong outcomes.
Sam increased and developed full and part time staff to bring our total to 40; 75% of whom are community residents serving 140 youth (Kindergarten through college), 80 families, and reaching out to 32 blocks that connect to over 2,000 people in the Midtown and East Phillips Neighborhoods. Sam helped establish dozens of strategic partnerships with other nonprofits, foundations, specialists, officials and agencies. We are grateful for his work, passion, and commitment to Banyan Community over these years.
Banyan has an amazing program staff that will ensure we do not have any gaps in service to youth and families while we are actively engaged in a Program Director search. The position is posted on our website, and we encourage you to share the details with anyone in your network that may be interested. Thank you for your prayers and networking to help us fill this important role at Banyan.