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

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

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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

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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

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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!

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People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

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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

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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

March 5, 2021 | Community Spotlight: The Women Leading the Way Campaign in Brooksville Main Street | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC | 
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A collection of women featured in Brooksville Main Street's campaign to celebrate the impact and legacy of women. Photos courtesy of Brooksville Main Street

March is Women’s History Month! Join us in this monthly celebration by sharing stories of the women who have impacted your commercial district and amplifying the women who are making history today. Get started today by downloading our sample social media graphics. Learn more about one Main Street program’s initiative celebrating women’s history below, and be sure to tag us in your initiatives using #WeAreMainStreet.

Brooksville Main Street’s Women Leading the Way Campaign celebrated the legacy of the trailblazing women who made history in their community. Debuting last fall as a part of their county-wide Founders Week celebration, this campaign featured 43 stories of important women – past and present – in Hernando County, Florida. Photos and newspaper clippings of these women’s stories were designed into posters, which were then printed out and hung in storefronts throughout downtown. Visitors were encouraged to walk the district and find them all.

When asked how this project came to fruition, Executive Director of Brooksville Main Street Natalie Kahler explained that, despite their enormous accomplishments, women had been excluded from local county history books. “I had taken out a book that was published in 1976,” shared Natalie. “It was this [thick] book of Hernando County history, and there was not a single woman listed in the index.”

The range of eras and professions of the women highlighted in the Women Leading the Way Campaign was vast. Founders, small business owners, activists, and teachers from across the decades since Hernando County’s founding were featured beside each other. The campaign also highlighted the first women to serve in various public office roles in Hernando County and Florida at large, such as the first woman mayor in the state of Florida (Lena Culver Hawkins), the first women to serve on the Hernando State Bank’s Board of Directors (Mary Alice Hale McKethan), and the first woman to serve as the Hernando County Registrar and Supervisor of Elections (Ada Cooper Law).

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1st International Congress of Working Women, instituted by Brooksvillian Margaret Dreier Robins (1919). Photo courtesy of Brooksville Main Street

At the heart of the campaign was a celebration of the lasting impact the highlighted women had had on the Brooksville Main Street community. One such woman was Margaret Rogers Ghiotto. Born in 1916, Ghiotto was an all-around downtown difference-maker. An active member of the community, Ghiotto planted hundreds of trees in Brooksville in an effort to beautify the downtown and renovated a dozen historic homes in the area. She also founded Rogers’ Christmas House, an iconic small business in the commercial district. So great was her impact that Ghiotto was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and named the Great Brooksvillian of 2003. Today, the City’s beautification award is named after her.

Ghiotto passed in 2006, but the seeds of her legacy literally bloom in downtown Brooksville. Said the Main Street program of her impact, “Before the internet, she found ways to showcase Brooksville and reach travelers worldwide. One of her major accomplishments was making Brooksville a Christmas destination. As Main Street, we have continued this effort and hope to introduce more and more families to our beloved Brooksville not just at Christmas, but every day of the year.”

Ghiotto is just one of the 43 incredible women whose stories were told in the storefront windows of the commercial district. Each woman uniquely impacted the evolution of Brooksville’s community and downtown district, and thanks to the Main Street program, each woman’s legacy had a chance to be celebrated.