A Message From the Executive Director

preschool readingCommunity is an important part of life. Our connection to one another helps to enrich our lives. We become complete if we are part of a positive community. Building community takes initiative and know-how. We must be a friend to gain a friend and so it is true in reaching out to build community. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10). In our urban neighborhood, we saw this theme at work this year in ways we never could have imagined.

Honor… At Banyan, we seek to regard people in high esteem and fulfill our agreements. We honor youth, families, and community members in our side-by-side work. Our youth continue to inspire us with their vigor and vitality for life and all the questions and curiosities that come with it! From kindergarten wonderings to college applications, our youth development team provides outstanding support for youth. Our families are stable and connect with their own children and other families with the help of our community team. Our Community, Leadership, Education, and Connection (CLEC) program provides great opportunities for our parents to thrive with cooking classes, Zumba, and coffee with the Doc. Our community block clubs have the Lighthouse Network that trains and supports our block leaders to provide safety and connection within and across blocks.

One another… When more than two people get together, a community is born. We use the asset-based community development approach to build up one another. We discover and develop assets from the community to support growth from the inside. Reciprocal trust-based relationships take longer to build but are more durable and resilient in the end. This resiliency has been hard-tested this year, as COVID-19 and civil unrest laid bare the inequities of our society. As a community, we have the opportunity as never before to seize the day, grab a hold of the opportunity gap, the racial inequities, and crime  in our community, and use our assets to build up our community. The value of Banyan’s work and calling is even more relevant now.

Above yourselves… We know our community is strong, yet in need, and not alone. Our broader community includes not only neighbors, but also staff, board, and supporters who believe in Banyan’s mission. We have experienced people putting Banyan above themselves and we are so grateful! The collective sharing of finances, connections, skills, experiences, and insights helps us become a cohesive community that supports neighborhood roots and transforms lives.

Honor one another above yourselves… a calling that is binding us together in community building. Thank you for responding to the call.


“I love how Banyan supports families and kids. My kids really enjoy coming here and the educators do a great job.”

Banyan Parent

“I am so grateful for Banyan. I trust Banyan and the staff here with my children, which is very important to me.”

Banyan Parent

“Sometimes I think of moving to the suburbs due to the drug and homeless issues but, then I think of Banyan and my neighbors, friends and family and I say – I CAN NEVER LEAVE PHILLIPS.”

Community Council Member

“I’m glad I came to Banyan this summer or else I would just be at home bored watching TV instead of doing fun things like crafts.”

Banyan Youth

“I’m thankful that we have had Banyan to guide us through this college process. We have never done this before, and don’t know anything about college or financial aid. It was good to know that our son had Banyan to help him understand things and explain the steps.”

Banyan Parent

“Banyan teaches you to stand up for what you know is right, to handle the situation in a respectful manner.”

Banyan Youth

“I give to Banyan because I know that my gift will go a long way both in impact with the community as well as effectiveness with a well-run organization.”

Current Donor
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