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AARP Awards Community Challenge Grant to AgeAlive at MSU

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[EAST LANSING] -- AgeAlive at Michigan State University has been named a recipient of a 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant, one of two grantees selected in Michigan.

The grant will be used to pay for a remotely conducted Senior Ambassador and Lifelong Learning Program to be developed and piloted. Data collection will focus on the impact of virtual social programs on social isolation, loneliness and quality of life in older adults.

“With support from an AARP Community Challenge Grant, older adults in the greater Lansing area will have access to the Senior Ambassadors Program, a volunteer companionship program that matches undergraduate students with older adults in the community for virtual, intergenerational, mutually beneficial one-on-one relationships, as well as group experiences,” said Clare Luz, AgeAlive Director. “These practical, exciting programs, especially in response to COVID-19, will contribute to the sense of social connectedness and purpose that is vital to wellbeing at all ages.

“Loneliness is a known predictor of depression, other physical and mental health conditions, and mortality that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.”

AgeAlive, which was established in 2017 within the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, is dedicated to connecting MSU scholarship, programs and initiatives under a the broad theme of aging and increasing wellbeing and quality of life across the lifespan. For more details, visit

The program that was awarded the AARP grant will provide seniors opportunities to connect to a social network, increase life satisfaction, and contribute to society by helping college students advance their life skills and careers.

This project is part of the largest number of Community Challenge grants 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. 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.

“We are incredibly excited to support Age Alive as they work to make immediate improvements in East Lansing, to encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” said Paula D. Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan. “Our goal at AARP Michigan 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.”

The other Michigan grantee is North End Wellness Coalition of Grand Rapids. The full list of grantees can be found at

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 an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Michigan’s livable communities work at

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About AARP

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 or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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