GAMSA Application Process
Members may log in to view a recording of The Great American Main Street Awards: An Insider's Guide to Applying for and Winning GAMSA webinar for an insider's perspective on how to put together a great application. Main Street Center staff, along with Rebecca Shirley from the Dahlonega Main Street/DDA, a 2016 GAMSA winner, shares details about the application process and provide a firsthand account of what winning a Great American Main Street Award can do for your community. View it here>
The Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) application has multiple components, including detailed questions on the history and successes of the Main Street program; up to fifteen (15) photos; 3-5 letters of support and other supporting documents.
Only entries that conform to the application directions will be considered. All materials submitted will become the property of the National Main Street Center, Inc. and will not be returned.
The Great American Main Street Awards® competition is open to all Nationally Accredited Main Street America Programs. At this time, previous winners are ineligible to apply for GAMSA. Learn more about accreditation.
All applications, accompanied with payment, submitted by midnight (CT) August 19, 2016 will be considered equally.
Please submit payment of $150 to:
National Main Street Center
53 W. Jackson Blvd, Suite 350
Chicago, IL 60604
- Overall strength of the Main Street in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit;
- Demonstrated success of the Main Street Approach in your community, with a focus on economic impacts;
- Commitment to historic preservation;
- Active involvement of public and private sector;
- Model Partnerships–Participation of multiple groups, entities and individuals who have been involved in making Main Street a great place.
All applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed and scored by a jury of representatives from community revitalization, economic development, and historic preservation fields. Applications are scored based on the criteria above. You can expect an official notification via email in mid-October on the status of your application.
Tips and Recommendations
- Prepare! Know the story you want to tell before you begin. What makes your community stand out from the other 600+ eligible communities? Don’t assume reviewers know your community (the opposite is more likely). Be sure answers are well edited and intended for an audience that is looking at your community for the first time.
- Pictures matter! Make sure you are selecting photos that support the information and story you are relaying in the application. Put some good time and effort into selecting quality photos that truly reflect your unique story. Also use your captions wisely.
- Take credit! The key words in GAMSA are "Main Street". Reviewers and jury need to see the connection between Main Street and the success of the revitalization efforts.
- Don’t get discouraged. On average, GAMSA winners have applied at least 2 times and many have won on their 3rd or 4th application. There is tough competition for those winning slots each year and sometimes it takes a few times to be named a winner.
- All materials submitted are the property of the National Main Street Center. Inc. and will not be returned.
- Only applications submitted in the format indicated above will be accepted.
Recognition of Winners
Winners of the Great American Main Street Awards® competition will be officially honored in May at the Main Street Now Conference in Pittsburgh. The awards ceremony will feature the winners' achievements, as well as the presentation of the award. The information on winners is kept confidential until the official announcement.
The National Main Street Center will also distribute press releases announcing the award winners to local and national media and winning communities will be featured on www.mainstreet.org, as well as other media. Great American Main Street Awards® winning communities also receive a plaque marking their achievement.