The Beacon Bowl opened in 1955 and was a bustling social space along Lincoln Way West. Over 100 local kids participated in the youth bowling program, and Dickinson Intermediate Fine Arts Academy (located directly south of the Beacon) utilized the building as extra PE space for students during the day. This community ethos remained strong right up to the Beacon’s closing in March 2007.

In 2011, Riverside Church, a local church with a passion for the west side of South Bend, purchased the building through the support of an anonymous donor. Not interested in converting it to a traditional “church space,” the leadership of the church incorporated a nonprofit entity—The Beacon Resource Center—to manage the building and determine its future. Local community leaders formed The Beacon Advisory Team and brought together nonprofits, schools, and local residents to identify central neighborhood needs not being met by existing efforts. The central question was explored: “How can the building again be used to serve the surrounding neighborhood?”


Immediately, one need was identified unanimously: space. The provision of multipurpose space for the community drove The Beacon’s initial engagement with the community. In 2015, the Beacon re-opened with 30,000 sq. feet of renovated multi-purpose programming space available for the community. Today there is over 15 partner organizations that use the space weekly for academic, recreational, or mentoring programs.

We continually return to our original vision of being fertile ground for transformation on the west side of South Bend by providing space and support for local organizations and schools to use their strengths for the benefit of the greater westside community. We are committed to helping alleviate the barrier of adequate space so that local schools, non-profits, and programs can focus on what's important: partnering with our community.

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