Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Plan

Charting Main Street America's next chapter as an organization and movement.

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Bold, Ambitious, Actionable

Main Street America’s new Strategic Plan will guide our work for the next 5-10 years, building on our legacy and core purpose, while recognizing the rapidly changing environment shaping our work. We invite you to learn more about our updated vision, mission, values, and long-term objectives that will provide the roadmap for Main Street America going forward.

"This is the starting point for a conversation about where we can go, together. The most exciting work is ahead of us, and we sincerely look forward to partnering with you to make good on its promise."

- Hannah White, Interim President and CEO, Main Street America

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Over the last nine years, Main Street America has successfully transitioned from a newly formed independent subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to one primed for long-term sustainability and growth. Wanting to harness this inflection point, Main Street America embarked on a year-long process in July 2021 to develop a new strategic plan that will guide our next chapter.

This was a highly collaborative and intensive process led by staff and guided by the board and key stakeholders. We rooted our strategy in three main elements – our Vision, Mission, and Values. These elements informed the direction for six actionable Long-Term Objectives (LTOs) that will drive our work forward over the next 5-10 years.

This process is not done—our most important work is ahead of us as we head into the implementation phase. This is a living, breathing plan that we will keep revisiting over the months and years ahead. We look forward to involving the network in this process and working to accomplish our vision, mission, and long-term objectives together.


Everyone has access to an inclusive and resilient Main Street – a place that has a thriving local economy, is distinctive and rich in character, and​ features welcoming spaces and diverse businesses for residents and​ visitors alike.


Main Street America leads a collaborative movement with partners and grassroots leaders that advances shared prosperity, creates resilient​ economies, and improves quality of life through place-based economic development and community preservation in downtowns and​ neighborhood commercial districts across the country.
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Community-driven - Our model is based on grassroots community leadership and buy-in. We are committed to centering on the people who power local economies and lifting up the voices of residents and stakeholders.

Collaboration & Partnership - We believe effective and lasting change happens through meaningful partnerships and intentional collaboration with an engaged network of stakeholders.

Equitable & Inclusive - At the core of our approach to revitalization is a commitment to creating places of shared prosperity, equal access to opportunity, and inclusive engagement. We are dedicated to advancing a deeper understanding of and action around anti-racism as an organization and a network.

Resilient & Future-focused - Central to our mission is helping communities take advantage of resources and opportunities that will help them better withstand crises and shocks that lay ahead (e.g. climate change, economic shifts, and social challenges.)

Community Preservation-based - We are committed to building on the past of our built environment and cultural legacy. We do this by promoting adaptive reuse, celebrating community character, and honoring the cultural diversity of communities.

Support Small for Greater Impact - We believe that supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses, and small-scale development builds community wealth and creates meaningful investment in communities.


Our Vision, Mission, and Values informed the direction for Main Street America's six actionable Long-Term Objectives (LTOs) that will drive our work forward over the next 5-10 years.


Explore the sections below to learn about each of the LTOs in more detail. In the weeks and months ahead, we look forward to providing updates on progress as we take meaningful and tangible steps to implement our vision and chart a path forward as a movement of community changemakers.

Center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Our Work


We believe that in order to fully deliver on our mission, we must commit to advancing DEIA in all our work, internally as an organization, as well as externally through the Main Street network and our varied partnerships. This involves recognizing where we have fallen short in the past, identifying where there is greatest potential to ‘move the needle’ through collaboration, and putting strategies in place to enhance our own capacity and the capacity of those we serve to take on the important work of advancing DEIA on Main Streets.

Be a Leading Voice and Advocate for Place-based Economic Development and Community Preservation


Main Street is one of the most powerful local economic development tools available to communities. And, when taken to its full potential, it is at the cutting edge of the preservation field, centering people and place at the core of what it means to ‘preserve.’ Through this objective, our charge is to raise the visibility of this critical work nationally through enhanced thought leadership and advocacy.


Continuously Assess, Adapt, and innovate on the Main Street Framework


Main Street operates at the nexus of a wide range of economic, social, geographic, and cultural factors that impact the way we work, from rapidly changing technologies to evolving workforce dynamics to shifting consumer trends, and more. To stay relevant, the Main Street framework must evolve and adapt to withstand and anticipate what changes may be on the horizon. Work in this area will be forward-looking and help keep our work at the forefront of community economic development.

Grow a Broader and More Inclusive Main Street Movement


The Main Street movement represents a vast and diverse set of partners, organizations, and local leaders dedicated to improving quality of life and economic outcomes in their communities. We are committed to continuing to grow this movement and invest resource, time, and capacity in reaching communities and partners in new locales who can help broaden our horizons. This means increasing our capacity to support work in non-English speaking communities, “non-traditional” districts, and expanding our portfolio of partners across the country.


Grow and Diversify Sustainable Funding and Organizational Base to Support Mission and Maximize Impact


In order to thrive and advance our mission in the years to come, Main Street America must invest in the fundamentals to create a strong foundation upon which to grow: highly effective internal operations, strong supports for staff development, and a diversified and growing financial base.

Build Capacity and Provide Resources for Coordinating Programs, Local Leaders, and Other Partners


For 40+ years, the Main Street program has been powered by a nationwide network of partners and leaders committed to our common cause. Through this objective, we are re-committing to investing in that network, listening and learning about where there is the most need, and establishing collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships with partners to deliver value.



Work is already underway to fully realize the scope of our new strategic plan. This is a living, breathing roadmap that we will keep revisiting over the months and years ahead. We look forward to involving the network in this process and working to accomplish our vision, mission, and long-term objectives together.

As always, we love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to us at mainstreet@savingplaces.org with any questions or feedback as we embark on this next phase of our future together.

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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.