Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

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Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

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Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

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Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

Get Involved

Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

Overview News & Stories Events & Opportunities Subscribe
Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

Get Involved

Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Overview Join Us Renew Your Membership Donate Partner With Us Job Opportunities
Community Grants

Building Equitable Economies in Rural Communities

Main Street America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation are working together to build more equitable local economies in rural America through the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Main Streets Program.

Photo of a downtown scene showing historic storefronts and a line of parked cars.

Woodbine, Iowa © Main Street Woodbine

Program Overview

This program leverages Main Street America’s past work in ecosystem building and combines organizational partnerships with Forward Cities for greater equity and inclusiveness, as well as professional development training in entrepreneurial-led development through the International Economic Development Council. 

Ten state-level Main Street programs were selected to participate in the program. 

In selecting grantees, priority was given to applicants who demonstrated a sincere interest and commitment to expanding their own internal entrepreneurial ecosystem programming, coupled with a lack of resources and staffing to start and scale this work in their communities.

All state or regional Main Street America Coordinating Programs with at least three Main Street communities with populations of 50,000 or less (as determined by the U.S Census) were eligible to apply.

The selected Coordinating Programs are:

  • Main Street Arkansas | Greg Phillips, Director
  • Main Street Iowa | Michael Wagler, Director
  • Kansas Main Street Inc. | Scott Sewell, Director
  • Kentucky Main Street | Kitty Dougoud, State Coordinator
  • Rethos | Minnesota Main Streets | Emily Kurash Casey, Director of Community Programs
  • Missouri Main Street Connection | Gayla Roten, Director
  • Nebraska Main Street Network, Inc | Elizabeth Chase, Director
  • Oklahoma Main Street Center | Buffy Huges, Oklahoma State Main Street Director
  • Puerto Rico Main Street | Norma Ramirez de Miess, Vice President of Revitalization Services, MSA
  • Washington State Main Street Program | Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Director

Each participant will receive a one-day statewide workshop on Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem building open to any rural community to attend, the opportunity to select three rural Main Street communities that will receive in-community and virtual programming designed to form and implement equitable ecosystem building, the opportunity to have coordinating staff participate in all trainings as part of the train-the-trainer process with the hope of expansion to other Main Street programs within the state or region, and professional development stipends for local directors to participate in IECD’s new entrepreneurship courses for place-management professionals.

Rural communities are confronting the difficult task of transitioning their primary economies away from agriculture and manufacturing. This decades-long challenge has been compounded by the pandemic, which had a disproportionate impact on women and BIPOC entrepreneurs. Equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems offer a promising path forward.”
MSA Chief Program Officer Matt Wagner, Ph.D. – Read the Program Announcement Blog



Supporting Partner

This work is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The foundation seeks to prepare people for success in their jobs and careers, so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. Their work is grounded in the principles of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion and is consistent with the aspirations of their founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman.