Effort to revitalize Brunswick takes next steps forward

  An effort to revitalize Brunswick will take substantial steps forward with a community meeting Sept. 24 and the formation of a new nonprofit focused on raising private capital to support bringing residents and businesses downtown.

      “We believe this will be a big day for Brunswick and the hopes and dreams everyone has to bring fresh vitality to downtown,” said Paul White, president and CEO of the Coastal Georgia Foundation.

   Over the summer, the foundation has led discussions with business, community and local government leaders to build on efforts to improve downtown’s economy and quality of life.

      The conversations gained momentum after the two installments of the Distinguished Speakers series cosponsored by the foundation and the College of Coastal Georgia.  The first included Atlanta Belt Line founder Ryan Gravel and the second featured Martin O’Hara, a British expert on rehabilitation port cities. The third installment, featuring a panel of local leaders, is scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center.

       The continuing discussions have included a cross section of community, business leaders and local government officials and have identified housing downtown as a key element in strengthening Brunswick’s economic vitality.

   “Through discussions among stakeholders, it became clear that if we focus on attracting residents, businesses will follow,” White said.

     This view was solidified after a May trip by the stakeholders to Macon, which has enjoyed a renaissance in its central city. After visiting Macon, the Brunswick group commissioned a residential market study of downtown Brunswick, the results of which are expected this fall.

    To further the conversation about Brunswick, the Sept. 24 meeting will mark the launch of Forward Brunswick, an inclusive, broad-based alliance of the city’s stakeholders. The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 5:30 pm at the Brunswick Library.

      Forward Brunswick is intended to foster continued communication and collaboration, White said. It became clear over the summer that improved communication among the many stakeholders was essential. “We found that a lot of good comes from just talking more with one another,” he said.

      To advance the goal of adding residents and supporting business in downtown Brunswick, White also announced the formation of NewCity Brunswick.  The new nonprofit was inspired by success of NewTown Macon, which has been instrumental to that city’s adding new residents and businesses to its central city.

   NewCity Brunswick will adapt what is working in Macon to the specific circumstances in Brunswick and Glynn County, said Jack Kilgore, the Coastal Georgia Foundation’s chairman. “We will use the best of what they did in Macon, but we need an approach that works best in our hometown,” Kilgore said.

       NewCity will use private capital to support residential development and redevelopment projects with creative financing tools and a revolving loan program. It is also intended to fill the gap in conventional approaches to financing such projects and provide support to local businesses and startups through training and some financial assistance. NewCity Brunswick is being designed explicitly to avoid duplication of existing agencies, such as the Downtown Development Authority, and city and county economic development departments and will work in complement to these partner groups

   Justin Callaway, a local business owner and private equity advisor, has been named as the nonprofit’s president.

       “I look forward to leading the action-focused NewCity Brunswick organization,” Callaway said. “Our work will facilitate a range of activities, accelerate the pace of progress, and serve in support of others to be the long-sought catalyst for Brunswick’s turnaround.”

      Kilgore expressed strong support for Callaway’s leadership. “We are fortunate to have such a talented young man to lead NewCity,” he said.

      The Coastal Georgia Foundation will serve as NewCity Brunswick’s fiscal sponsor and is able to receive charitable contributions to support NewCity’s mission here. “Already, we have received pledges that amount to about 15 percent of our initial operating goal, and we are excited by the early support from the community,” Callaway said.

About the Coastal Georgia Foundation

The Coastal Georgia Foundation was incorporated in 2005, as a tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people of Glynn, McIntosh and Camden counties. The Foundation now has assets nearing $20 million and has awarded over $14 million in grants, the majority to community organizations in the three-county region and beyond. The Foundation serves ordinary citizens who have the extraordinary vision for a better life for their neighbors, friends, families, and fellow coastal Georgians - today and for future generations. The Foundation seeks to be the region’s trusted source for thoughtful philanthropic counsel, sound financial management and strategic community investment.

Bringing It Home: A Panel Discussion on Downtown Brunswick, Sept. 25

In the final event of the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation's 2019 Distinguished Speakers Series event, co-hosted by the Coastal Georgia Foundation, a panel of local leaders and influencers discusses the momentum around the revitalization of downtown Brunswick, Georgia. Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 5:30pm.


Bert Roughton (Moderator), former senior managing editor, Atlanta Journal-Constitution;

Jeff Clark, outreach director, Safe Harbor's Street Beat;

Tres Hamilton, CEO, Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority;

Mathew Hill, executive director, Downtown Development Authority;

Michael Kaufman, managing member, Kaufman Development Group;

Josh Rogers, president and CEO of NewTown Macon; 

Maggie Wilkes, owner, Maggie Mae’s restaurant.

Click here to Register

Price/Blackburn Fund featured in Golden Isles Magazine

Read the latest Golden Isles Magazine feature on the Price/Blackburn Fund of the Coastal Georgia Foundation here

Emergency Needs Fund ready and waiting

We were spared by Hurricane Dorian, but it will not be the last time a hurricane disrupts our lives and damages our precious coastal assets. The Community Emergency Needs Fund of the Coastal Georgia Foundation is a local financial resource for when disasters happen. 

Founded in 2017 in collaboration with the United Way of Coastal Georgia, the Emergency Needs Fund raised and disbursed over $75,000 in relief to local agencies serving our coastal communities. This partnership also founded the region's first VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters).  Our VOAD is made up of local, regional and national organizations that work together to provide critically important assistance to individuals affected by disasters.  This is a significant effort as, even after two years, we are still active in making home repairs to damage that was suffered during Hurricane Irma.

For more information on supporting the Community Emergency Needs Fund, in preparation for the next distaster, click here. Here is more information on VOAD.

Stakeholders fund residential market study

The Coastal Georgia Foundation has commissioned a thorough and comprehensive assessment of residential market potential in downtown Brunswick. The study has been funded by seven stakeholders who donated a total of $30,000 to the effort. Read The Brunswick News July 23 editorial on the issue

“We learned about this type of data-driven housing study on our May 30 trip to Macon,” says Paul White, President & CEO of the Coastal Georgia Foundation. “There, the housing study said downtown Macon could absorb ‘200 residential units per year.’ This number became a shared goal for developers, entrepreneurs, lenders and other investors in downtown Macon. We’ve been hearing from our local stakeholders that market data for Brunswick could similarly inform a residential strategy for a vibrant and diverse downtown.”

2019 Correll Scholars awarded

The Correll Scholars program at the Coastal Georgia Foundation recently recognized its 2019-2020 recipients. They are: Billy Anderson, Damaria Gurley, Sabrina Luckey, Nashiya Maxwell, Destany Smith and Jada Stuckey.

Interested in downtown Brunswick revitalization?

Thank you to The Brunswick News for covering the Coastal Georgia Foundation's June 24 tour through downtown Brunswick here. If you are interested in getting involved in the revitalization effort, please email us:


New Fund: Price/Blackburn Fund

The Coastal Georgia Foundation is excited to announce one of its newest funds: the Eugenia Price/Joyce K. Blackburn Charitable Fund. The Fund’s purpose will be to permanently carry on the artistic influence and philanthropic legacy of both authors, and to benefit Coastal Georgians.

Presentation Video: Martin O'Hara

to watch the full-length video of Martin O'Hara's presentation from the June 6 Distinguished Speaker Series at the College of Coastal Georgia.