Creating community is an essential part of Banyan’s mission and is inseparable from the strength of our families. The Lighthouse Network (LHN) is a Banyan Community program that connects 31 block clubs with one another to build community and increase the safety of the neighborhood. The LHN accomplishes this by equipping and supporting neighbors through training and hosting monthly breakfasts for community leaders. Through these efforts, residents move from being simply users of their neighborhood toward being leading contributors, helping to shape and design their community into a place where residents thrive and have a sense of hope for making positive change.

In 2023, the Lighthouse Network helped support a wide variety of neighborhood events. From small gatherings of neighbors around a bonfire to large-scale events like the Phillips Clean Sweep with over 500 attendees, residents showed how important trust and connection are.

Over 70% of LHN block leaders reported taking action in their community to bring positive change, and 100% reported building trust with their neighbors.

Banyan hosts a monthly Saturday breakfast for LHN block leaders and community members to grow in community-building. There are 9 breakfasts each year – there is no breakfast the month of the Community Connections Conference, National Night Out, and Clean Sweep. The average meeting attendance for 2023 was 16 community members. Breakfast topics included a container gardening seminar, a community listening session on the Cedar Ave reconstruction project, and presenters from other local non-profits. Banyan acts as a resource hub, connecting residents with supportive systems and equipping them as leading community members.

In December Banyan partnered with the Minneapolis Violence Prevention Community Champions. This was their first training outside of North Minneapolis, and it was one of the biggest sessions they’ve had so far. Thirty new Violence Prevention Community Champions completed their half-day training at Banyan. We look forward to hosting similarly impactful training and guest speakers in 2024.