Main Streets Are for Everyone


Main Streets Are for Everyone

Downtown-Franklin-About-Us.png

What We Believe

We believe Main Streets are for everyone. At the core of our approach to revitalization is a commitment to creating places of shared prosperity, equal access to opportunity, and inclusive engagement. The National Main Street Center models and champions this vision through our actions and programs.

Creating Places of Shared Prosperity

A broad constituency of stakeholders - including residents, visitors, entrepreneurs and customers - produce a thriving Main Street district. As centers of economic and social opportunity, commercial districts impact the health and prosperity of all stakeholders, and thus they should be reflective of and in service to all members of the community.

Despite this, we know that barriers - direct and indirect, historic and current - have prevented this vision of full participation in communities and commercial districts from becoming a universal reality. From land-use policies to business finance practices, our systems have intentionally excluded marginalized groups while bolstering prosperity for those with power. And, many of the forces driving change on our Main Streets today, especially rapid demographic shifts and technological innovations, are deepening existing inequities.

This history, and our collective role in shaping the future of communities, positions our movement at the center of some of the most pressing issues in our society today: Who belongs? Who’s represented? Who thrives?

To fulfill our mission, we must recognize inequity and embrace change. The Main Street Approach, with its emphasis on community engagement as a core element of district strategy, can offer a path forward. But creating places of shared prosperity, equal access, and inclusive engagement requires sustained commitment to education and action.

There’s important work for us to do to fully realize this vision. We’re excited to embark on taking next steps together and hear what you are doing to shape an inclusive future.


What We're Doing

The staff of the National Main Street Center recognize that first step towards our vision is prioritizing team training and development. Our plan includes annual staff training in areas of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism and expanding opportunities for diverse representation in our staff, board, and partners. We aim to share our learning and experience with the network, while inviting new voices to guide our work.

What You Can Do

Everyone who is part of the Main Street movement can take an active role in shaping an inclusive future. No matter your background or experience, embracing change can create discomfort. Educating yourself and creating conversations around these important topics is essential.

Next Steps Together

Join the conversation. We encourage you to send us your feedback and use Main Street member resources, including The Point, to share your approaches, resources and challenges.

Participate in person. Look for training opportunities at the 2020 Main Street Now Conference and sessions focusing on equitable entrepreneurship and engagement.

Share your story. Great places happen due to a dedicated and diverse group of people. Use the #WeAreMainStreet campaign to share the individuals and ideas that power your community.

Build your knowledge. It’s incumbent upon each of us to expand our understanding of ourselves and others. Check out the resources below to educate yourself.

Resources

Suggested Reading (or Listening)

Please consider purchasing at your local book store.

Organizations

Check-out these groups with innovative tools for engagement.

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation - We share a commitment with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to tell the full American story. We encourage you to explore their work in this area, especially recent efforts to protect and restore places of significant African American history through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
  • Welcoming America - Through a social entrepreneurship model, Welcoming America offers resources to communities and non-profit organizations interested in becoming more inclusive of immigrants, refugees and all residents. Look through their resources and stories on engagement and inclusive economies.
  • PolicyLink - A national research and action institute that advances racial and economic equity through data-driven tools and advocacy, prioritizing the voice of those traditionally absent from policy processes. Check-out their National Equity Atlas to discover data on your local area.
  • Americans for the Arts - We encourage you to read about Americans for the Arts process for adopting a Cultural Equity statement, which was helpful in crafting our own.

Have a resource you would like to see added to this list? Please share with Kelly Humrichouser at khumrichouser@savingplaces.org.


Meet Our Staff

Get to know the National Main Street Center staff and board.

LEARN MORE


Get to Know the Network

Explore the communities that make up the Main Street America network.

LEARN MORE


Join the Movement

Become a member to gain access to resources, tools, networking opportunities and more.

LEARN MORE