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AARP Awards Grants to Five Connecticut Organizations as Part of its Nationwide Program to Make Communities More Livable


AARP Connecticut announced five organizations throughout the state will receive 2023 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.6 million awarded among 310 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable by improving public places; transportation; housing; digital connections; diversity, equity and inclusion; and more, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and older.

“AARP Connecticut is committed to working with local leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut State Director. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for residents 50 and over.”

Here in Connecticut, projects funded include:

  • Goshen: Goshen Land Trust This project will install benches and informational signage along a new accessible loop trail that provides an experience in nature for people of all ages and abilities.
  • New Haven: City of New Haven Department of Elderly Services This project will create welcoming, accessible outdoor spaces by installing benches at three senior centers and nearby parks.
  • Willimantic: Garden Club of Windham with Friends of the Garden on the Bridge The project will transform an neglected park into a welcoming and functional recreational space, with seating and tables to encourage outdoor recreation, socializing and intergenerational interaction.
    Barbara Wright, Member of the Friends of the Garden on the Bridge and Co-President of the Garden Club of Windham, said, “This grant takes us one step closer to making the Garden on the Bridge more comfortable and more functional for all kinds of gatherings, from a cup of coffee or lunch from a local shop to family picnics and parties, art shows and concerts.”
  • Willimantic: Town of Windham Human Services The project will create a community gardening program to help older adults grow food locally.  It will enrich the design of a new green space at a senior center and will provide tools and weekly group sessions led by a master gardener. Capacity-Building Microgrant
    Liz Myers, Assistant Director of Human Services for the Town of Windham said, "We are excited to be chosen as an AARP Community Challenge grantee, and we look forward to expanding the network of existing community garden options in Windham by removing barriers for residents with limited mobility. This grant will enable us to create an inclusive space where members can actively participate in gardening, regardless of their physical abilities. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of nature and community engagement."
  • Windsor Locks: Town of Windsor Locks This project will transform an underutilized alley into a downtown community gardening and socializing space that includes garden beds and outdoor seating.
    Ann Marie Claffey, Senior Center Director for the Town of Windsor Locks said, “We, at the town of Windsor Locks, are thrilled and honored to have been selected to receive the AARP 2023 Community Challenge Grant. The town’s senior center has been designated as the site for this Community Project. Project development is underway, which includes assistance from senior center staff and volunteers from the community. The project, ‘Welcome to the Patio at 41 Oak St, a Downtown Gardening and Gathering Place’, will transform our drab outside area into a vibrant park-like community space. Thank you again for the opportunity to enhance and improve our downtown area.”

AARP Community Challenge grant projects will be funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. True to the program’s quick-action nature, projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.

In addition, community organizations and governments across the state will be able to apply for AARP Connecticut’s 2023 Livable Communities Support Program, a local extension of the national initiative. Now in its sixth year, the initiative dedicated to funding “quick-action” projects in Connecticut communities, will begin accepting applications in August. People can email with questions or for more information.

This year, the AARP Community Challenge accepted applications across three different grant opportunities, including existing flagship grants in addition to new capacity-building microgrants for improving walkability and community gardens. New demonstration grants will focus on improving transportation systems, with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America, and housing choice design competitions.

AARP is also bolstering its investment in rural communities, mobility innovation, transportation options, and health and food access.

“These grants continue to lead to long-term, positive changes in communities across the country,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This year, we are proud to support the largest number of projects in the program’s seven-year history, which will improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes so everyone can thrive as they age.”

The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages, especially those age 50 and older. Since 2017, AARP Connecticut has awarded 20 grants and more than $215,000 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.

View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at

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