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Background Information

The National Main Street Center is pleased to offer two full scholarships to the Main Street America Institute, a professional development program designed for revitalization professionals implementing the Main Street Approach, in honor of two of NMSC’s distinguished former board members, Mary Thompson and David J. Brown. 

Mary Thompson’s career in commercial district revitalization has spanned over 40 years, crossing a variety of geographies and in many roles. In 1984, Mary created what is now the Washington Main Street program and went on to spur state-wide programs in California, Arizona and Hawaii, as well as taking on a role working for the National Main Street Center. She has also served as the State Historic Preservation Officer for Washington state, a preservation professor, and on numerous boards.

David J. Brown has dedicated his career to the advancement of preservation in local, state-wide, and national roles. Most recently, he served as the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s founding Chief Preservation Officer, where he led the organization’s programmatic work, including the successful campaign to retain the Historic Tax Credit during the 2017 tax reform process. Prior to working with the National Trust, David was the founding executive director of the Virginia Preservation Alliance as well as serving as the director of the Historic Staunton Foundation, in the Great American Main Street award-winning community of Staunton, Virginia.

Mary and David’s contributions to the Main Street movement have shaped the field to what it is today. As a celebration of their careers and commitment to this work, these full scholarships to the Main Street America Institute will help develop the next generation of Main Street leaders.

The Main Street America Institute’s full suite of educational offerings include online and in-person trainings across the Main Street Four Points, with an emphasis on district Transformation Strategies and Leadership Development designed for commercial corridor managers. Upon successful completion of all coursework and a rigorous final examination, participants will receive both the Leadership Development certificate and the Community Transformation certificate, as well as the Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP) credential, the highest achievement available through the MSAI. This scholarship opportunity is valued at $4,150. 

Each scholarship will include:

· Participation in ten (10) online courses

· Participation in two (2) in person workshops

· Fees associated with the MSARP Final Exam.

Please note: the scholarship does not cover travel expenses to the two in-person workshops. Depending on the location, combined travel expenses are estimated to be approximately $1500 for hotels, travel and meals.

Scholarship recipients will have flexibility to complete coursework over a 24-month time-frame and should show progress through successful, timely course completion to maintain the scholarship. MSAI staff will ensure that participants are kept aware of progress and provide support as needed throughout.


Application Criteria

Successful applicants for this full scholarship opportunity will demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of a career in commercial corridor revitalization with an emphasis on historic preservation and community engagement. Though a specific educational background is not required, ideal candidates will have 2-3 years of experience in their Main Street role and a passion for the position. Applicants will also show a desire to complete the full credential program, with the support of both their Main Street coordinating program and their local program board. 


Application Process

Applicants should complete the form below by December 15, 2019. Decisions will be made by the first week of January 2020 with online course offerings beginning immediately thereafter by a committee including our honorees, Mary Thompson and David J. Brown.

Please email questions about this application process to msai@savingplaces.org.