Erin and Ben Napier named Stars of Hope – Picayune Item


The 22nd Annual Crystal Ball, hosted by the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, will honor Mississippi natives, University of Mississippi graduates and HGTV Home Town stars Erin and Ben Napier as stars of the hope. Ben also has a show on HGTV based on his woodworking called Ben’s Workshop. The Napiers reside in Laurel, Mississippi, where they repair and renovate old homes, while telling the story not only of the homes, but also of the town known as Laurel. The Napiers also founded Laurel Mercantile and the Scotsman General Store. They have published two books, Make Something Good Today and The Lantern House.

The Crystal Ball, which takes place on January 15, 2022, at the Southaven Arena, is a black-tie event that honors deserving citizens of Mississippi. This evening will feature a fabulous dinner, live and silent music, dancing and auctions, all around a fun and colorful theme: A Night in Havana. Through this annual fundraiser, the Community Foundation has awarded grants to more than 850 charities totaling $ 33 million since 2002.

Dozens of volunteers, led by volunteer co-chairs Michael and Elizabeth Bellipanni, prepare to make the gala a fun night.

“Our enthusiasm for bringing a live event for Crystal Ball is hard to express. Just being able to come together and celebrate in person is special after the hardships we’ve all been through since our last live event in January 2020, ”said Michael Bellipanni. “We are also delighted to honor these great Mississippi champions with the Star of Hope Award. Erin and Ben so deserve this award for their work in bringing out the beauty and positive light of our great state. The Crystal Ball is a great endeavor, and it could not be achieved without the help of dozens of Foundation volunteers and staff who care deeply about the communities we serve.

“The Napiers join a long list of Mississippian notables who have already been recognized as Stars of Hope,” said Colie Sanford, chairman of the board of the Community Foundation. “They join a distinguished roster that includes the North Mississippi All-Stars and Blind Mississippi Morris, Morgan Freeman, Senator Thad Cochran, Sam and Mary Donnelly Haskell, BB King, Governor and Mrs. William Winter, Mary Ellen Stribling Bouldin, MD, Archie and Olivia Manning, Bob Pittman, Marty Stuart, Bradford Cobb, Richard Grant, Sela Ward, Jesse Holland, Wade and Jimmy Creekmore, and Charley Pride.

If you are interested in becoming a Crystal Ball 2022 Sponsor, please visit our website at for more information. To register and become a volunteer for Crystal Ball 2022, please visit the Maddox Volunteer Center at

About the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi: The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi manages 240 donor-established funds. Established in 2002, with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501 (c) 3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves the counties of Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate and Tunica. A council of 19 volunteer civic leaders runs the Community Foundation. Learn more about the Community Foundation at or call 662.449.5002. Follow the Community Foundation on Facebook at, Twitter at @ CFNM_2002, YouTube @ CFNM2002 and Instagram @ CFNM2002.


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