AARP Awards Three Maryland Non-Profits with Community Grants as Part of Record-Breaking Nationwide Program
Three Maryland organizations will receive AARP 2020 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest number of grantees to date with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Maryland's 2020 grantees are:
- University of Maryland (Hyattsville): The Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health Laboratory (CEEJH Lab) at the University of Maryland School of Public Health will receive a grant to transform their current My Block Counts app (a pilot program aimed to use environmental justice and urban planning as backdrops for increasing scientific and environmental health literacy in older adults of color from the Southern/Capital region of Maryland), to include integration with local municipal 3-1-1 services so that residents can report gaps in community resources to their local policymakers. Participants will learn how to report on conditions through social media posts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok), and online social communities (e.g., sub-Reddits and other forums, Meet-Ups, Facebook Groups). The CEEJH lab hopes to increase the digital literacy of older adults.
- Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation (Baltimore): Bon Secours Community Works (Bon Secours) will receive a grant to make significant improvements to the Rachael Wilson Memorial Park in southwest Baltimore’s Boyd-Booth neighborhood. The park will become a lively central site as well as a space for reflection for people of every age, which will promote an enhanced quality of life and bring positive activity to the neighborhood where a derelict vacant lot once stood. Current and potential residents, and potential investors, will see exciting and unique assets in the Boyd-Booth neighborhood because of this skillfully designed and maintained public space.
- Washington County Commission on Aging (Hagerstown): The Washington County Commission on Aging will put grant funds toward the purchase of a vehicle and trailer to provide critical healthcare and nutrition services to older adults throughout the rural county.
“We are incredibly proud to partner with Maryland grantees as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change. Our goal at AARP Maryland is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.
All projects are expected to be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access a wider range of transportation choices.
- Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
- Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
- Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.
The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge and view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Maryland’s livable communities work at www.aarp.org/livable.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.