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Missouri Main Street Connection recently introduced a new benefit for our network, the Grant Resource Directory. The directory provides subscribers with a summary of the currently available grant opportunities that can be utilized to support downtown revitalization work.


One of the questions we get asked the most is where to find funding for Main Street organizations. Grants are one of the many ways in which an organization can support its work. Unfortunately, the research process is often so time consuming that Main Street organizations are unable to dedicate that time on top of everything else they do for their district. In response to this, we wanted to create a resource for our network that would cut down on the research time by putting the available opportunities in one place. The directory is sent via email twice a month to ensure that we are able to alert subscribers to new grant opportunities as soon as they become available in order to give them enough time to put together an application.




The directory includes a short summary of each opportunity, a link to more information and the deadline. There is also a section of opportunities that are available on an ongoing basis. These opportunities are often overlooked or not prioritized because they do not have a looming deadline. The directory will continually share these opportunities as a reminder of what is always available.

To give other subscribers ideas for grants, the directory will also feature how grants have been successful for other communities. Subscribers can also submit projects they are in need of funding for, for us to keep in mind when we are researching grants for the directory.

The directory is not meant to take the place of an organization’s individual grant research, however, we hope that this makes it easier for our communities to utilize available grant funding for projects that benefit their historic districts and the work of Main Street in their communities.

To subscribe to the Grant Resource Directory, send your request to Katelyn at katelyn@momainstreet.org.


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In August of 2016, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) to provide technical assistance to rural communities in Southeast Missouri.  When writing the grant, we looked for an area of Missouri without widespread participation in Main Street by the local communities to focus our efforts. While we have and currently work with communities in the southeast region, our goal was to expand this effort by strengthening relationships with community partners in the Southeast Region.

 

Using the grant we worked with many communities on various issues and projects they were facing in order to help them move forward in their revitalization work. Communities in the southeast region received a variety of services and trainings that were all tailored to the individual community’s need and their experience with implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. These services included town halls to gather public input and support, introduce the Main Street philosophy to the community as well as utilizing the help of consultants to guide the communities in the next steps for their Main Street organizations. Consultants were brought in to provide information and ideas for business recruitment, façade and streetscape design and what steps the Main Street organization must take to implement these plans.

MMSC also organized workshops specifically for communities from the southeast region to learn more about Main Street and how it could help their communities. While some communities in the area have experience with Main Street, we also wanted to reach out to those that want to learn more. In October 2016, we hosted a Main Street 101 workshop that introduced the basics of how Main Street can work for community as well as what MMSC could do to help in the process. Two Affiliate Grant workshops, hosted in the region, explained ways that MMSC could provide dedicated, specialized services and support to the communities in order to get their Main Street organizations started.

 

Early in 2017, MMSC hosted the Main Street Summit for the communities in Southeast Missouri. The Main Street Summit focused on building a partnership between the local government and the local Main Street organization. Two people from each community attended, one with the city and one with the downtown organization, to learn about Main Street. We have found that bringing people together to hear the same information helps them get on the same page about what the next step is for their community, allowing them to work together better.

Finally, twice during the grant period, MMSC has hosted Basic Training on the Four-Point Approach® for people who wanted an in-depth look at how the four points of organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality work together in a Main Street organization. These workshops covered what each point is and what tasks fall under them for the Main Street community.

Through the Rural Business Development Grant, MMSC has made great progress in the education, training and implementation of Main Street in Southeast Missouri. As with all other regions of Missouri, there are communities at different stages of community revitalization. We tried to tailor the services provided in this grant to all levels of revitalization experience in order to assist as many communities as we could. It was very important to teach the basics of Main Street through many of the workshops described above to lay the groundwork and get communities excited about the transformation that could take place in their communities. We then expanded on these principles and addressed specific needs in the communities that had more experience with Main Street. We were able to help overcome preconceived notions that the historic district wasn’t worth investing in. We helped create or reestablish relationships with communities and their local and state officials. Finally, we provided motivation for communities to take the next steps to create a vibrant and sustainable downtown.

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As Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) celebrates a decade of successful nonprofit service in Missouri, we are reflecting on all things to the power of 10.  Here are 10 services provided by Missouri Main Street.

Coordinating Program for Missouri.  The National Main Street contracts with Missouri Main Street to administer the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization in Missouri.  This is very powerful because it allows the communities in Missouri to utilize the Main Street program and all that brings with it:  the network, the brand, the resources and the partnerships.  Not every state has a coordinating program and several have come and gone due to budgeting and personnel.  MMSC is strong because of the relationships with our Main Street organizations, the State of Missouri through the Department of Economic Development and the legislators, the local municipalities and the MMSC board of directors. 

Accreditation.  Through an extensive annual review of the Main Street programs in Missouri, MMSC is able to accredit the best Main Street programs in the state alongside the National Main Street Center.  National accreditation is a big deal.  It is based upon the National Main Street 10-Point Criteria which measures the organization’s capacity, leadership, community involvement and effectiveness.  There are currently only six accredited Main Street programs in Missouri:  Old Town Cape, Inc. (Cape Girardeau), Main Street Chillicothe, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Historic Downtown Liberty, Warrensburg Main Street, and Downtown Washington, Inc. 

Tier System.  When MMSC started in 2006, it had resurrected itself from a state run organization into a non-profit with only 10 communities in the network.  Today MMSC has assisted more than 170 communities across the state.  With a staff of four people, that assistance had to be categorized into tiers.  The more invested a community is in the Main Street program, the more services MMSC could offer.  This four-tier system offers phone consultation, technical and organizational visits along with board planning sessions and access to the resource library for members via the MMSC website.  You can learn more about the services offered through the tier system online.

State Conference.  Every July MMSC offers the only statewide educational and networking event for commercial district revitalization that blends economic development, community revitalization and historic preservation.  It brings together experts in the field of downtown revitalization into three days of educational sessions, in-the-field tours and networking.  The conference also features the Evening of Excellence awards recognizing the best in Missouri Main Street communities.  Visit the conference website for details.  Don’t miss this year’s conference on July 26-28. 

Cultivating Place Training, Kansas City, MO

Quarterly Workshops.  It is written in the Missouri Main Street mission that providing tools and resources to Missouri communities and one of the ways that is achieved is through quarterly workshops held in the spring and fall.  These workshops focus on a specific aspect of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.  The most recent workshops have been focused on economic vitality through education on real estate investment, attracting and retaining businesses and marketing those spaces in downtowns.  Missouri Main Street members receive a discount on these training opportunities.  Mark your calendar for November 11, 2016, for the next workshop in Chillicothe.

Grant Programs.  Because of the funds Missouri Main Street receives from the State of Missouri, grants, memberships and fundraising, it can offer service grants.  These grants are varied in the services they offer with the Affiliate Grant guiding a community with starting and building a Main Street program.  The People Energizing Places and Strategic Teams Engaging Places grants assist a Main Street community in growing the organization’s capacity and effectiveness.  All of these grants are matching with Missouri Main Street assuming 60-75% of the costs. 

Technical Services.  Maybe you don’t need a grant but a specialized service to grow.  Missouri Main Street offers a full list of services ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days.  Some of these services include conducting a community visioning session, board strategic planning session, customer service training, technical visit on economic development or a multi-day downtown strategic planning session.  The complete list is available online. 

2016 Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO

Partnerships/Relationships.  Missouri Main Street has relationships with other state-wide organizations that can be utilized by downtown organizations to assist in the revitalization efforts.  The Department of Economic Development, State Historic Preservation Office, Certified Local Government Program, Missouri Preservation, Missouri Arts Council, USDA, AARP and many others have programs and resources for Missouri communities.  Contact us for more information.

Networking.  Everything Missouri Main Street does revolves around the downtown communities being served.  With that in mind, the act of bringing people together to share ideas and learn from one another is vital to everyone’s success.  Missouri Main Street receives feedback every year on the value of conversing with other Main Street professionals and learning from their successes and failures.  Take advantage of this service because in many cases, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

2016 Main Street Showcase, Jefferson City


Advocacy. 
And last but certainly not least, Missouri Main Street promotes and shouts from the downtown rooftops the importance of downtown revitalization in Missouri communities.  This shouting is to state legislators, local politicians, business owners, property owners, residents, visitors and many others within a community.  This advocacy also belongs to the local effort doing Main Street…believing in the principle of locally controlled decisions based upon the wants and needs of the local community.  Main Street is a volunteer lead, volunteer driven, locally empowered organization doing economic development while preserving a community’s historic assets.  If you believe in this idea, then Main Street is for you!

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The state revitalization conference is well underway and off to a great start. This morning in the opening ceremony our State Director, Gayla Roten, welcomed all of the attendees and announced two new MMSC programs that we are very excited to offer to communities in Missouri!

People Energizing Places

The first program that Gayla announced is People Energizing Places. Starting and sustaining a Main Street organization can be challenging. Missouri Main Street Connection's new People Energizing Places (PEP) Grant can help your Main Street organization gain additional training and expert guidance to become more effective. This new two year program provides individualized training, focused initiatives for sustained revitalization and technical expertise developed to advance the Main Street organization's downtown development.

Strategic Teams Engaging Places Grant

The second program announced is the Strategic Teams Engaging Place Grant. Sustaining a Main Street organization can be challenging. Missouri Main Street Connection's new Strategic Teams Engaging Places (STEP) Grant will catapult your organization to the next level through expert guidance and training to create real change in your revitalization efforts. This new one year program provides customized training from a detailed assessment to strategically advance the Main Street organization's downtown development.


Contact the MMSC office at 417-334-3014 or email Keith Winge at kwinge@momainstreet.org for more information about these programs.

 

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