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Director of Urban Programs, Main Street

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Posted: 06/21/2016

National Main Street Center

Over the past 36 years, the National Main Street Center has led the development of a national network of over 2,000 historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts: Main Street America™. The people who make up Main Street America are passionate advocates, dedicated volunteers, influential stakeholders, and community organizers who work every day to turn the tide in their communities—catalyzing reinvestment, creating jobs, and fostering pride of place.

Director of Urban Programs, Main Street
Professional Opportunity
Chicago, IL

Over the past 36 years, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has led a transformational movement, working with 2,000+ communities around the country to revitalize and re-energize their older and historic downtown commercial districts. We are passionate about helping communities understand the connection between creating quality urban places and economic competitiveness, and equipping them with the tools to make that connection a reality. Since its inception, the NMSCs approach has earned a reputation as one of the most powerful community based economic development tools in the nation, generating over $65 billion in reinvestment in downtown areas.

NMSC is looking to broaden its offerings and engagement in urban neighborhood commercial districts, and seeks an experienced and dynamic professional to lead this new initiative. The Director of Urban Programs, working closely with and reporting to the President and CEO and the Vice President of Revitalization Programs, will lead new programmatic development, cultivate new partnerships, support fundraising efforts, and develop new technical services targeted to urban neighborhood commercial districts.

This position presents a unique opportunity to join a growing Chicago-based team and lead efforts to spearhead a major new national initiative. The ideal candidate will be an effective and inspiring leader and have a demonstrated track record of work in community development, with an emphasis on inclusive engagement in urban areas.


  • Direct the day-to-day implementation for new urban-focused program in close coordination with the NMSC President and Vice President of Revitalization Programs;
  • Build partnerships with organizations engaged in urban revitalization and development, and cultivate relationships with key urban district leaders;
  • Through internal and external communications, speeches, articles, and related work, serve as a representative of NMSC to high-level contacts in the public and private sectors on commercial revitalization issues, including: elected and appointed officials; local and state government; leaders in preservation and commercial district revitalization; corporations and foundations; and representatives of the media.
  • Identify training needs and opportunities in the field, and work with other NMSC staff to develop enhanced educational materials and resources;
  • Work with Vice President and other key NMSC staff to develop and conduct trainings, technical services, and workshops on urban revitalization and development; and
  • Achieve budget goals through management and delivery of technical services for clients, earn revenue for NMSC in the amount specified in the annual work plan.
  • Develop comprehensive fundraising strategies to support development of new urban-focused programming and services.


  • At least 10-15 years of experience and demonstrated leadership in the community development, economic development, urban planning, urban revitalization, and/or closely related fields;
  • Direct experience with, and demonstrated thought leadership in, complex urban revitalization issues including social equity, transportation, housing, community engagement, small business development, urban design and planning, and real estate development. Because the position typically will be working with very ethnically diverse communities (especially those with large African American and Latino demographics), candidates with ties to, or experience in outreach to and engagement of, culturally and ethnically diverse communities, businesses, and professional affinity groups, are encouraged to apply  
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial approach and experience launching new projects and initiatives, building partnerships, and providing technical assistance;
  • Previous fundraising experience required;
  • Experience with budgeting, staffing, supervising professionals and leading teams to generate high quality results.
  • Advanced analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization.
  • Advanced project-management, team-management and client-management skills. Ability to achieve results with limited supervision.
  • Experience supervising professional staff, as well as successfully managing key internal and external stakeholders and relationships.
  • Creative self-starter with the ability to achieve results with little supervision.  Ability to prioritize and multi-task efficiently, and respond to a high volume of ongoing requests in a timely fashion.  Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment;
  • Excellent written communication and public speaking skills; bi-lingual in English and Spanish is a plus
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices.
  • Advanced degree in Urban Planning, Community Planning, or Urban Affairs strongly preferred;
  • This position requires frequent travel; ability and willingness to travel up to 50% of FTE required.
OPen until
Until Filled

How to apply
Please email your resume in .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .html, or .ascii format to: 399320-CS-1121@nthp.hrmdirect.com. If you wish to enclose a cover letter, please include it in the body of your email message.

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