The HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program is now closed. Learn more about the program at

About the Award

The events of the past year represent what could have been an existential crisis for America’s Main Streets. The converging impacts of the effects of COVID-19, renewed national and local reckoning related to racial justice and equity, and cascading climate crises have challenged Main Streets in ways that none of us could have foreseen. But, in the midst of these generation-defining events and pressures, Main Street programs have demonstrated inspiring tenacity and creativity. While recovery will take years, Main Street programs have stepped in to begin to rebuild more sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities.

To celebrate these efforts, we are pleased to introduce the Main Street Forward Awards. This special awards program seeks to showcase forward-thinking Main Street recovery and resilience efforts at this unique and challenging moment. Our goal is to collect a series of award winners that can serve as examples for the network, and for the country at large, of the power and perseverance of Main Street.

Winners will receive a $1000 prize to support their program and be featured at a dedicated awards plenary at the Main Street Now virtual conference in April.

Please note that if you are selected as a winner you will be asked to submit a short video for inclusion at a plenary at the 2021 Main Street Now Conference.


  • Applications are open to the following member categories: Coordinating Programs, Main Street America Community, Start-up, and General 
  • Applications should be projects or initiatives that launched, are launching, or have been redesigned/adapted in 2020
  • Applicant should be lead organization spearheading the project or initiative, though we encourage projects or initiatives that involve community partners.


All applications will be judged based on the following:

  • Need – proposed project or initiative demonstrates a response to significant local need
  • Community Impact– proposed project or initiative has contributed to meaningful community impact (or anticipated impact) and has involved other key partners or stakeholders
  • Innovation – proposed project or initiative represents innovative, experimental, creative and/or entrepreneurial approaches to addressing Main Street resilience and recovery efforts
  • Replicability - proposed project or initiative is something that could be modeled and/or scaled for other Main Street programs to adopt and implement

Application Process:

  • Only one entry per organization/entity
  • Please be sure your application is complete before submitting. Entries may not be changed or updated once the entry has been submitted
National Main Street Center