Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

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We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

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Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

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Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

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Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

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Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

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Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

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Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

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Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

Overview News & Stories Events & Opportunities Subscribe
Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

Get Involved

Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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Matthew Wagner, Ph.D. serves as Chief Innovation Officer. In this role, he is responsible for leading the Innovation Team, focused on internal and external research, new business support, and piloting, testing, and launching new ideas, tools, and technologies.

Prior to his work at Main Street America, Dr. Wagner had a dual role of Director, Global Community Affairs, and President of Johnson Redevelopment Corporation at SC Johnson, a $10 billion global consumer products company (Glade, Raid, Windex, Ziploc, etc.). Since 2011, he had international responsibilities driving the company’s $35 million philanthropy strategy in sustainability and workforce/​economic development areas. 

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Dr. Wagner provided entrepreneurial guidance and leadership to the company, directing the creation of the Lily Pad retail venture featuring SC Johnson branded merchandise for visitors and consumers, to which he received an Officer’s Award. Furthermore, he served as President of Johnson Redevelopment Corporation, SC Johnson’s real estate holding company invested in more than 1 million sq.ft. of retail, office and manufacturing space for third-party tenants.

Dr. Wagner’s professional background involves nearly 30 years of non-profit management and teaching experience in the area of downtown revitalization, entrepreneurship and economic development. At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, he focused on aligning students in helping to find business solutions with partner businesses, serving as a lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Director of both the Small Business Development Center and Solutions for Economic Growth Center.

Dr. Wagner has served a leader in the area of community revitalization, directly guiding two nationally recognized downtown revitalization efforts. In Sheboygan Falls, WI, he led downtown redevelopment activities resulting in the community being named one of the first five Great American Main Street Award winners. As Executive Director of the Downtown Racine Corporation (Racine, Wisc.), Dr. Wagner led a downtown planning and implementation initiative that resulted in more than $100 million in new private investment earning honors from the International Downtown Association, Sierra Club, and the American Institute of Architects for downtown planning. In addition, he has served as a Senior Program Associate at Main Street America providing direct technical assistance to numerous downtowns and commercial corridor districts, with a specialization in economic restructuring activities, including market analysis, real estate development, downtown planning, and business recruitment and retention activities.

Aside from his professional experiences, academically Dr. Wagner has completed his Ph.D. with a focus on economic development and entrepreneurship. He is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, completing a teaching assignment on social entrepreneurship at the University of Hyderabad, India. He has also presented internationally on topics of economic development and community revitalization in Japan, India, Canada, and Australia. Dr. Wagner also served as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau program, working with the US Embassy in Lithuania as part of a five-region tour on entrepreneurship and community development.

Furthermore, Dr. Wagner has a long history of program and service delivery in the area of small business development and place management. He currently serves on the Advisory Council at the Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institute. As a testament to this work, he has been awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Wisconsin Champion for Women-Owned Businesses, for his efforts to support women entrepreneurs. He is also a former Executive in Residence at Cardinal Stritch University and faculty for the University’s Mission Fuel: Social Entrepreneurship program.

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Articles & Publications

Mileyka Burgos-Flores, Allapattah Collaborative CDC

In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt talks with Mileyka Burgos-Flores, executive director of the Allapattah Collaborative CDC in Miami, Florida, the only designated Main Street community in Miami. Mileyka is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Mary Means Leadership Award.

  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship
July 17, 2024
Headshot of professional woman wearing orange shirt
Podcast

Ross Chanowski, NuMarket

In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt chats with Ross Chanowski, owner and founder of NuMarket. NuMarket is a leader in crowdfunding solutions for small businesses with a focus on food services.

  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship
July 10, 2024
Headshot of man wearing black shirt next to Main Street Business Insights podcast logo.
Podcast

Ebenezer Akakpo, Akakpo Design Group & Maine Culture

In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt talks with Ebenezer Akakpo, a designer and jeweler who owns Akakpo Design Group and Maine Culture in Westbrook, Maine.

  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship
June 26, 2024
Man sitting down at desk with computer and art supplies
Podcast