Main Street Newsletter - February

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Main Street Monthly

A monthly publication from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

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Grant opportunities

Several opportunities to better your communities are now open for applications. Check out the list below and apply to those that interest you and your community:


The Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grants provide funding for nonprofit organizations and public agencies in the United States that are using the power of volunteers to improve communities. Click here to learn more.

Priority is given to projects that meet the criteria below:

  • Benefit individual veterans, veteran families or a community of veterans. If the project does not benefit veterans, it must provide support for diverse and underserved communities;
  • Volunteer friendly that engages people at all skill levels;
  • Is expected to have a strong and lasting impact; and
  • Policies are in place to ensure volunteer safety.

The National Park Service is now accepting applications for $5 million in grants to support the preservation of historic buildings in rural communities across the country that are listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places through the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program. Applications for funding are now being accepted in through April 1, 2019. Click here to learn more.


Enter the FedEx Small Business Grant contest and earn $15,000, $30,000 or even $50,000 for your small business. Ten grants will now be awarded this year, which is double from last year and prize money will total more than $220,000. Enter this contest by March 25. Click here for more information.


The AARP Community Challenge funds community-based “quick-action” projects related to housing, transportation, smart cities and public spaces. The goal is to spark change and build momentum to improve livability for people of all ages. Apply now through April 17. Click here for more information.


Indiana Humanities launches INseparable

INseparable is a two-year Indiana Humanities initiative that invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

Whether due to real or perceived differences, Americans see each other differently depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban communities. The conclusion drawn from the near-constant polling, media commentary, and academic analysis of the past two years is that America is culturally divided by its geography. In 2019 and 2020, Indiana Humanities invites Hoosiers to dig into these divides, exploring how Hoosiers relate to each other across boundaries and considering what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.

How can you participate?

  • A six-town tour of the Smithsonian-curated exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” See where it’s headed. 
  • “Chew on This” dinner conversations around the state. Register here for the first scheduled on April 23 (locations: Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, South Bend). Is your community missing? Apply to host one in your town.
  • INconversations with local, regional and national thought leaders. First up: James & Deborah Fallows on March 18-21 in Muncie, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Angola. Learn more

Important Dates

March 8QuIP applications are due by 4 p.m. (ET)

March 15 − Speaker proposals are due

March 23 to 27 − National Main Street conference

View our complete calendar


Why historic preservation needs a new approach

by: Patrice Frey, Historic preservationist and president of the National Main Street Center

One of the great surprises of the digital age is that quality of place remains such a key factor in where people choose to live and businesses choose to open their doors. Only 10 or 20 years ago, futurists and technologists promised us that place would become irrelevant: We would all live and work and connect with the world via the internet, free to roam anywhere we chose. But millions of years of evolution are tough to shake; we remain social creatures and continue to seek connection, delight, and fulfillment in real, physical space.

Read more

OCRA is seeking conference speakers proposals

We are asking for session proposals for the Great Lakes Main Street Conference scheduled for August 18 – 20, 2019, in South Bend, Indiana.

We are seeking proposals from dynamic speakers who will share the latest trends, strategies and ideas for downtown revitalization. Our sessions will focus on three topics: 

  • Economic Vitality – Reimagining Revitalization
  • Sustainability – Widening the Circle
  • Placemaking – Cultivating Quality Places

The conference will be open to all Main Street organizations, economic development professionals, local elected officials, planners, architects, engineers and other leaders who are passionate about the future of their downtown.

If you or someone you know is a great speaker and has a compelling presentation to share, answer the questions in this survey.

Be a part of a national network of Main Streets. Visit or call (312) 619-5611 to join Main Street America.