We know that it takes time to build great communities. But, we also believe that quick action can spark longer-term progress. AARP launched the AARP Community Challenge to fund projects that build momentum for change in communities to improve livability for all local residents.

The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand for larger projects.

The program will accept applications for projects in the following categories for 2019:

Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” This new category in 2019 will encourage communities to develop and implement innovative programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding, and using data to increase quality of life for all. The intention with this new category is to encourage applicants to demonstrate new ways to engage in decision-making about housing, transportation, economic development, placemaking, infrastructure, or other community aspect.

Deliver a range of transportation and connectivity options through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements

Create vibrant public places through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and improve access to amenities

Support the availability of a range of housing through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options

Other innovative approaches to improving the community

In 2018, the AARP Community Challenge funded 129 projects nationwide, including Caldwell, Kamiah and Pocatello. Idaho grantee projects included:

  • Caldwell: Destination Caldwell, $3,500 – Improved downtown Caldwell by installing oversized games, mosaic tables and benches to encourage social engagement and activity.
  • Kamiah: Carrot Ridge Volunteer Fire District. $5,000 – Helped activate a new community gathering building for all area residents, especially older adults.
  • Pocatello: NeighborWorks Pocatello, $4,250 – Provided for a mobile “Block Party Trailer” to be utilized throughout Pocatello to host neighborhood social gatherings.

The application deadline for 2019 AARP Community Challenge grants is Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 10:00 p.m. MTN. All projects must be completed by Monday, November 4, 2019.

For more information or to apply, visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.