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Just Released! Our New Strategic Plan

July 27, 2022 | Letter from the President: Our New Strategic Plan | By: Hannah White, Interim President and CEO, Main Street America | 

Dear Main Street America Network,

I am excited to share with you Main Street America’s new strategic plan. This is the result of months of hard work, listening, conversation, co-creation, and wrestling with big, exciting, difficult ideas. The result is a plan I’m immensely proud of – one that leverages our strengths and will push us to grow and stretch in new ways.
From its beginnings as a pilot project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the coast-to-coast forward-looking movement it is today, the Main Street program has always been committed to a core purpose: to advance community-led commercial district revitalization. What has changed dramatically in those 40-plus years is the scope and scale of our network, as well as the economic, social, and cultural conditions in which we operate. Main Street America’s new strategic plan, which will guide our work for the next 5-10 years, builds on our legacy and that core purpose, while recognizing the rapidly changing environment shaping our work.

When developing the strategic plan, our charge was to meet the current moment – a time in our history that has given rise to renewed national interest in Main Street’s cause and made our mission more relevant than ever, while also bringing into sharp relief the way that unequal investment, structural racism, and changing demographic patterns are impacting or inhibiting shared prosperity in our communities. To do so, we had to take a step back and ask ourselves some tough questions. Where are we going as an organization? What motivates us? What unites us as a network? What have we gotten right? Where have we fallen short?

There are no easy answers to those questions, but it all comes back to that big, bold idea hatched 40-plus years ago that investing in Main Streets is key to unlocking the full potential of our communities.
Where we landed is a vision that recognizes that Main Streets are so much more than the sum of their parts – streets, sidewalks, storefronts. They are sites of human connection and collective memory. They inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and deliver economic opportunity to residents. They are tapestries of artistic expression and creativity. They can bring people together to bridge political differences and find common purpose. And, with concerted effort, commitment, and willingness to put in the work – they can be drivers of a more just and equitable society.

That is the Main Street we’re committed to for the future – and to make that vision a reality, we’re doubling down on investing in the vast network of Coordinating Programs, local Main Streets, city neighborhood organizations, local leaders, and partners that are committed to supporting those places and the people they support.

In the new plan, you will find our updated vision, mission, values, and long-term objectives. Together, these provide a roadmap for Main Street America, and most importantly, it is the starting point for a conversation about where we can go as a network. The most exciting work is ahead of us, and we sincerely look forward to partnering with you to make good on its promise.


As always, we love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me at with any questions or feedback as we embark on this next phase of our future as a movement.

In partnership,

Hannah White
Interim President and CEO, Main Street America

Special thanks to the Main Street America Strategic Planning Working Group: Dionne Baux, Rachel Bowdon, Michael Powe, Gustavo Ustariz, and Hannah White; the Strategic Planning Executive Committee: Darryl Young, Jess Zimbabwe, Patrice Frey, and Hannah White; as well as to the Dowling Street Team: Nadir Ahmad, Kristen Illes, and Bianca Messina.

We’d also like to express sincere gratitude for the leadership, insights, and input of the Main Street America Board of Directors and the Coordinating Program network.