Once upon a time in the land of the Show Me State, Main Street was on the verge of elimination. The state-funded program within the Department of Economic Development (DED) was chopped from the state budget, and the lone staff person was reassigned to other DED duties. In essence, the princess was in distress.
Cue 12 knights in shining armor – the local Main Street program managers took up the fight to retain a state program in Missouri. After many calls and unsuccessful pleas with Missouri legislators, they refused to yield to the loss and continued to provide training themselves in communities around the state. Their victory finally came a decade ago when the decision was made to transition the program from a state-run organization to a nonprofit 501(c)3. Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was born.
And they lived happily ever after...
But it wasn’t the end of the story.
Missouri Main Street Champions lighting anniversary cake during the 2016 10-Year Celebration and Evening of Excellence in Washington, MO.
Because those Main Street Champions were so determined, MMSC is, today, an independent nonprofit organization funded by corporate sponsors, individual contributors, services provided, state and federal grants, and a contract with DED. Through this financial support, the program is able to provide conferences and workshops, consulting services, and publications to educate and empower local organizations to lead their downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization efforts. Acting as the coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, MMSC serves as the state’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research, and advocacy.
Missouri Main Street Connection celebrates 10 years of nonprofit service success with these 10 key stats:
- The state of Missouri’s Main Streets is healthier than ever with over $683 million of private investment…
- And over $140 million in public investment since 2006.
- Missouri’s Main Streets are led by volunteers who make downtown revitalization a powerful force. Those volunteers donated over 285,312 hours of service to the heart of their community…
- At a value of over $6.0 million.
- With small business at the heart of downtown development, Main Streets foster that entrepreneurial spirit every day. Since 2006, over 526 net new businesses opened their doors…
- With over 2,936 net new jobs created. Even during the recession, Missouri Main Street communities were adding jobs faster than losses.
- Currently, over 124 communities are served through outreach with workshops, in-community training, assessments, conferences and consultations.
- An MMSC staff of 4-1/2 with a combined 68 years of Main Street experience provides trainings, workshops, consultations and mentoring.
- Since 2006, 70+ trainings and workshops (not including consultations and trainings for specific communities) have been conducted statewide…
- With 2,882+ persons attending those events.
As you can see, over the last 10 years, Missouri Main Street has helped empower thousands of people at the local level to implement positive and sustainable change for their communities.