AARP Eye Center
Communities across Minnesota are working to become more livable for residents of all ages.
AARP is working in partnership with local leaders, organizations and dedicated residents to help make that vision a reality. As part of that effort, AARP is excited to announce the largest investment of grant dollars to date through the Community Challenge grant program. More than $3.4 million in quick-action grants are being distributed to 260 organizations across all 50 states, Washington D.C, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Community Challenge funds innovative projects that inspire change in areas such as transportation; public spaces; housing; diversity, equity, and inclusion; civic engagement; and more. This year, with additional funding support from Toyota Motor North America, the program is also increasing its investment in projects that improve mobility innovation and transportation options.
AARP is also bolstering its support of affordable and adaptable housing solutions in response to the national housing crisis, as well as those that address disparities through permanent or temporary solutions. Many of this year’s projects also include ways to help communities leverage funding under the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
AARP Minnesota is incredibly proud to have 7 grantees right here in our state. Our goal is to support their efforts to create great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. As local leaders seek to better their communities for the future, this becomes even more critical.
Here in Minnesota, these exciting and diverse projects were funded:
- Mill City Church / IMBY MN Project – Mill City Church will showcase ADU housing and livability solutions by furnishing an educational ADU, funding showcase events, and creatively amplifying the story of the IMBY project through visual storytelling on a new social media campaign and signage.
- Veterans Memorial Park – This park installation will enhance the outdoor spaces in Vergas, MN for all residents to gather, especially older adults. They will be able to reflect and honor loved ones who have served and also instill a sense of patriotism and sacrifice in youth of the area.
- Duluth Age-Friendly (Eco3 as lead organization) – Through fun team-based design challenges, this project introduces Duluth to age-friendly domains, encourages intergenerational problem solving, expands partnerships, and gathers actionable ideas in housing, transportation and social connectedness.
- Hearts & Hammers – This project assists low-income homeowners in the Twin Cities whose exterior of their homes is deteriorating and are in danger of losing their homes. Hearts & Hammers restores the home so that they can safely stay in their affordable home.
- City of Princeton – The City of Princeton Bike Assist Program will offer one electric hybrid cargo bike to families, with an emphasis for adults age 50+. This will allow a wider variety of transportation opportunities for Princeton residents.
- Mid-Minnesota Development Commission – This project will give out ride coupons in the Willmar area to help with social isolation and physical/mental health by reducing transportation barriers to community interaction among seniors and people with disabilities, especially those in care facilities, while increasing intergenerational connections.
- City of Minneapolis – This project will install seating, new signage and projectors to make our Mobility Hubs more welcoming and easier to navigate. We’ll also hire local ambassadors to help educate residents about mobility hubs and how to use the services properly.
The Community Challenge is part of AARP’s nationwide work on livable communities, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places for all residents. We believe that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life.
To learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge both here in Minnesota as well as across the nation, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge. You can also view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Minnesota’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.