AARP knows 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 in 2017 to fund projects that build momentum to improve livability nationwide. We are excited to announce the program is back in 2023 for its seventh year and is currently accepting applications online through March 15, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. ET.
The AARP Community Challenge’s focus on tangible projects, community engagement and its quick-action timeline help selected grantees fast-track ideas and replicate promising practices. Previous projects have demonstrated an ability to garner additional funds or support from public and private funders, encourage innovation, overcome local policy barriers and receive greater overall awareness and engagement.
The grant program is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects. In 2023, the AARP Community Challenge is accepting applications across three different grant opportunities, two of which are new this year.
This is AARP’s traditional, flagship Community Challenge grant program where grants have ranged from several hundred dollars for smaller, short-term activities to tens of thousands of dollars for larger projects. These grants will support projects that improve public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital connections; community resilience; civic engagement; and community health and economic empowerment.
NEW in 2023! CAPACITY-BUILDING MICROGRANTS
These $2,500 grants are combined with additional valuable resources, such as webinars, cohort learning opportunities, up to two hours of one-on-one coaching from America Walks or 880 Cities, and AARP publications. This new grant opportunity will accept applications for projects that support Walkability using the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit and Community Gardens using the AARP publication Creating Community Gardens for All Ages.
NEW in 2023! DEMONSTRATION GRANTS
Supporting demonstration efforts that encourage replication of promising local efforts, this new grant opportunity will accept applications for projects that build capacity towards transportation systems change and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) design competitions.
Since 2017, the AARP Community Challenge has funded over 1,060 projects nationwide. Last year, Kentucky organizations were awarded these exciting and diverse projects:
- Beaver Dam: City of Beaver Dam As part of a downtown renaissance, old wooden doors will be turned into artworks illustrating the city’s history and will then be mounted on the outer walls of existing buildings.
- Florence: Florence Christian Church A bicycle rack and bicycle repair station will be installed in the church parking lot for use by food pantry guests, users of the church’s free shower service and all city residents.
- Hazard: University of Kentucky Research Foundation Workbenches, a 3-D printer, pipe benders and a drill press will be among the equipment purchased to bolster a program in which volunteers refurbish used medical equipment and adapt toys to aid people with disabilities.
- Highland Heights: Campbell County Senior Center Two raised-bed planters will be built and developed, and workshops will be held to teach older adults about gardening.
- Lexington: Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky To strengthen relations between grandparents and grandchildren, events at which attendees can plant trees and flower bulbs or build free mini libraries (or both) will be staged across the state.
- Louisville: Parks Alliance of Louisville A new public park in a neighborhood with high rates of poor health will receive three fitness stations.
The AARP 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 50 and older) with 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 2023 grant cycle is March 15, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. ET. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.
To submit an application and learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge in Kentucky, as well as across the nation, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.