Celebrating a bright future for the Greater Belhaven Foundation

On Friday May 5th the staff, donors, volunteers, and supporters of the Greater Belhaven Foundation gathered at Deep South Pops to celebrate a major accomplishment – the creation of a new website that will reach far beyond the historic community, to those seeking a very special place to call home.

The generous event sponsors included Baptist Health Systems, Deep South Pops, Green Oak Florist and Garden Center, Kats Wine & Spirits and C Spire.

Laurel Isbister, the Executive Director of the GBF, tells us,

“We had two big reasons to celebrate. One, we completed a fantastic and useful website after six months of hard work. And two, we began the next chapter in the history of the Greater Belhaven Foundation – there was a real sense that this new phase is just beginning and that there are wonderful things ahead!”

GBF Executive Director, Laurel Isbister (center), speaks to Launch Party guests.

But this website signifies more than an accomplishment – it embodies the spirit of the people who call Belhaven home. From the artist creating and dreaming in the converted attic of their Tudor-style home, to the lawyer relaxing on the front porch of their restored Craftsman, perhaps with a glass of wine after powering through another challenging case – the people of the Greater Belhaven neighborhoods are significant in both their individuality as well as their collective drive.

The new Greater Belhaven Foundation website, found at www.greaterbelhaven.com, was designed to capture the unique outlook of the people within the community, and their desire to share this place with the world.

(LtoR) Elizabeth VanDeburgh, Bethany Byrd (President of Own Your Hill), Mary-Michael Lindsey

The website, created by Own Your Hill, a growth strategy and marketing firm based in Laurel, MS, features visuals that reflect the garden-like tranquility of the neighborhood, information both deep and carefully curated, robust event promotion features, and the latest in email-capturing and automating technology. It is designed to not only attract those who might one day join the neighborhood, but to promote those who have long supported its cause.

Bethany Byrd, president of Own Your Hill, explained that the design, “leads visitors of all skill levels through a path of deeper understanding of the organization’s goals and many accomplishments, while inspiring those who are seeking somewhere truly unique to plant their roots. This tool will not only greatly improve the GBF’s marketing effectiveness, it will automate some of the smaller, daily tasks handled by the organization’s staff – freeing them to focus more intently on the hands-on activities that will build their community and grow the organization.”

Sara Sullivan, local singer-songwriter, performed throughout the event.


The launch event at Deep South Pops was a powerful reflection of the community’s understanding of what this next step will mean for all of the residents, business owners, institutions and organizations in the neighborhood.

As over one hundred people came by to both congratulate the GBF on their latest accomplishment, peruse the new website on iPads generously provided by C Spire, enjoy a glass of celebratory champagne provided by Kats Wine & Spirits or a delicious popsicle from Deep South Pops, and to share in the win for both the organization and their beloved neighborhood, the support of the community shone bright.

“The community support tells me that the hard work was worth it. The most satisfying part of my professional career is doing excellent work and fulfilling the mission of an important organization. Getting to talk to neighbors, donors, and others at the party kept a big smile on my face for hours and I know that this new online tool will empower and assist in the growth and longevity of Greater Belhaven for years to come,” Isbister shared.

As the room filled with GBF board members, donors, volunteers, the president of the BIA, the past president of the BHCA; representatives of the Friends of Laurel Street Park, New Stage Theatre, Baptist Health Systems, local universities, the MS Children’s Museum; founders and representatives of local media such as Find It In Fondren and Portico Jackson Magazine; and an outpouring of local business owners and residents, the party took on the feel of a backyard barbecue, punctuated by anecdotes and shared experiences from long-time friends and well-known neighbors.

Door prize winners Janine Buckley, Christin Barron, and Karen Gilder were gifted with 6-Month Healthplex Memberships courtesy of Baptist Health Systems.

Moving forward, the Greater Belhaven Foundation will use this new tool to promote their great local events such as this weekend’s Shakespeare in the Park, located at Belhaven Park this Sunday, May 14th. Go to the website now to sign up for email updates and to see all that this incredible neighborhood has to offer.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Download Text Version Here

Event Photos by David Sprayberry