AARP AARP States Alaska Livable Communities

NOW OPEN: 2022 Community Challenge Grants!

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A 2021 AARP Alaska Community Challenge grant supported the Fairbanks Community Food Banks "Food is Medicine" program with reusable, cold storage bags to keep produce fresh longer.

At AARP Alaska, we know that it takes time to build great communities. But, we also believe that tangible improvements can spark long-term change. AARP launched the Community Challenge program in 2017 to fund projects that improve livability nationwide. We are excited to announce the program is back in 2022 for its sixth year and is currently accepting applications online through March 22, 1:00 p.m. Alaska time.

Since 2017, the Community Challenge program has funded 21 Community Challenge grants to support quick-action projects across communities in Alaska, including Anchorage, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Gustavus, Homer, Kenai, MatSu, Naknek, Newhalen, Petersburg, Willow, and Unalakleet.  Grants in Alaska have included indigenous trail naming projects, intergenerational community gathering spaces, and garden beds to support food security and use of traditional medicinal plants.  We’ve also funded projects to support fitness and recreation in indoor and outdoor spaces, promote access to fresh and healthy produce, and more. 

This year, in response to once-in-a-generation investments from the federal government in local communities through laws like the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, AARP is also funding projects that support communities’ efforts to strengthen engagement in the local implementation of these programs and help build onto investments already underway using these funding streams.

The grant program is open to nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects.

AARP will prioritize projects that support residents age 50 and over, are inclusive, address disparities, directly engage volunteers and aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support a range of housing options that increase the availability of accessible and affordable options.
  • Ensure a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community.
  • Support communities’ efforts to build engagement and leverage funding available under new federal programs through laws like the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and more.
  • Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion.
  • Support veteran and military families with programs and projects designed to honor their service.
  • Other community improvements including health services, community development, and coronavirus pandemic recovery.

“Livable communities are those that have accessible and affordable housing, safe and dependable transportation, shared outdoor spaces, as well as a respectful and inclusive community life that is meaningful for seniors,” said Teresa Holt, state director for AARP Alaska. “We recognize that community leaders and representatives know the needs of their community better than anyone.  Our role is to help you make your ideas a reality.”

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places to live for people of all ages. We believe that communities should provide residents of all ages, (especially people age 50 and older) safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities to participate in community life

The application deadline for the 2022 grant cycle is March 22, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. Alaska time. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2022.

To submit an application and learn more about the work being funded by the Community Challenge both here in Alaska as well as across the nation, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.

About AARP Alaska
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