Be That Neighbor

A nonprofit organization

170 donors

Be That Neighbor works to build community through music, yoga, and theater. We are stronger together!


The history of our neighborhood is very short. Fewer than 300 people lived in the Mill District in 1999, when the first residential building opened. Today we have close to 5000 residents and a reputation as an affluent community, but here’s a shocking fact: while Downtown has some of the highest home values in the Upper Midwest and a median income of $78,000, 25% of our neighbors live below the poverty line!


It seemed clear to the founders of our charity that this was a neighborhood still searching for an identity & a sense of community.  When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we decided to begin a Facebook page called Be That Neighbor.  The purpose of the page was to post real time information about volunteering and helping our neighbors.  As it quickly gained in popularity, we realized that Be That Neighbor better described the work we had been doing as Friends of the Mill District and we began the process of changing the name of our charity to Be That Neighbor. 

We made the easy decision that our “identity” must include everyone. We are stronger together when people of all races, religions and income levels are included in community events and programs. Something truly inspiring is happening as a result of our programs: highly unlikely friendships are becoming the norm, as large numbers of neighbors break out of their social bubbles and engage with the broader community. To that end, each & every one of our programs is free and open to everyone interested. We are indeed “Stronger Together”.


The Mill City Singers – Our community choir, directed by JD Steele, and accompanied by his brother Fred, began with a group of people living in supportive housing. After opening it up to all residents we now have 340 people on our roster in our seventh season. We practice on Saturday afternoons at the Guthrie Theater and sing at events throughout the city including singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' at Twins games, performing at the MacPhail Music Matters Luncheon, the Loring Park Music Fest, the Capri Theater, at the Orpheum, Orchestra Hall, at the Guthrie Theater before a production of A Christmas Carol, and caroling throughout the neighborhood.   We recently finished a 4 week run of Iphigenia at Aulis in parnership with Ten Thousand Things.

We sponsor and manage Yoga in the Park in Gold Medal Park.  It runs every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  It is open and free to anyone who comes and is an excellent way to build community.

The Sallie Steele Birdsong Scholarship is new to Be That Neighbor.  Named after the mother of the Steele family, this scholarship provides money for young people to have music lessons.  All of our recipients comes from families who would have difficulties providing these lessons.  No one can argue that music is anything but good for a child and these lessons provide what every child needs, a way to express themself and another caring adult mentor.

We are currently in the final stages of setting up a theater class in partnership with the Guthrie, the Minneapolis Public Schools, and Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  This course, due to begin in January of 2023 will provide high school and college credit at no cost to the high school student.  Our hopes are to expand this exciting program with your support.

Community Partners: MacPhail Center for Music, The Steeles, Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, American Academy of Neurology, Mill City Museum, D'Amico, Smith and Porter, Keefer Court, Afro Deli, Trader Joe's, Umbra, Crooked Pint, and Pog Mahones.

About Be That Neighbor

In 2015 a group of friends began a conversation about the Mill District and the broader community in Downtown Minneapolis. We shared a vision for our neighborhood that includes every single resident, including the disadvantaged and others who sometimes feel invisible, and decided to start a 501©3 to do the work that needs to be done. In January of 2016, we filed papers with the IRS and began our work.   Our mission is to “ ... build community by connecting, convening, and supporting neighbors. We strive to make the invisible visible by the programs we create. All the people in our neighborhood matter and we know we are stronger together."

Organization Data


Organization name

Be That Neighbor

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Children & Family Community

BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving

LGBTQ+ Serving

LGBTQ+ Serving


1240 S 2nd St Unit 1132
Minneapolis, MN 55415


763 9137469

Social Media