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Announcing the Main Street Forward Awards

December 16, 2020 | Announcing the Main Street Forward Awards | 

The events of the past year represent what could have been an existential crisis for America’s Main Streets. The converging impacts of COVID-19, national and local reckoning related to racial justice and equity, and cascading climate crises have challenged Main Streets in ways that none of us could have foreseen. But, in the midst of these generation-defining events and pressures, Main Street programs have demonstrated inspiring tenacity and creativity. While recovery will take years, Main Street programs have stepped in to rebuild more sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities.

To celebrate these efforts, we are pleased to introduce the Main Street Forward Awards. This special awards program seeks to showcase forward-thinking Main Street recovery and resilience efforts at this unique and challenging moment. Our goal is to collect a series of award winners that can serve as examples for the network, and for the country at large, of the power and perseverance of Main Street.

Winners will receive a $1000 prize to support their program and be featured at a dedicated awards plenary at the Main Street Now virtual conference in April. (Please note that winners will be required to submit a short video featuring their winning project/initiative to be shown at the plenary.)

You will find that the application form is open-ended. Main Street programs’ work around recovery and resilience this year has been diverse and wide-ranging, reflecting the enormous scope of the issues at hand. We want to see the best of it, from your equitable entrepreneur support programs to your socially distant community engagement techniques to your winter-proof outdoor dining schemes, and everything in between.


Program Details:

  • Applications are open to all members (Coordinating Programs, Main Street America Community Programs, General Members, Start-up Members, Allied Members, and Friends of Main Street)
  • Applications should be projects or initiatives that launched, are launching, or have been redesigned/adapted in 2020
  • Applicant should be lead organization spearheading the project or initiative, though we encourage projects or initiatives that involve community partners.

  • All applications will be judged based on the following:
    • Need – proposed project or initiative demonstrates a response to significant local need
    • Community Impact – proposed project or initiative has contributed to meaningful community impact (or anticipated impact) and has involved other key partners or stakeholders
    • Innovation – proposed project or initiative represents innovative, experimental, creative and/or entrepreneurial approaches to addressing Main Street resilience and recovery efforts
    • Replicability – proposed project or initiative is something that could be modeled and/or scaled for other Main Street programs to adopt and implement

Application Process:
  • Only one entry per organization/entity
  • Please be sure your application is complete before submitting. Entries may not be changed or updated once the entry has been submitted

  • December 16 – Applications open
  • January 21 – Applications due
  • February 12 – Applicants notified of their status
  • March 8 – Videos submissions due (60 – 90 seconds)
  • April 12 – Awards ceremony

Questions? Please contact