AARP Eye Center
We know 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 4:00 p.m. CT.
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, Minnesota awarded these exciting and diverse projects:
- 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 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 both here in Minnesota, as well as across the nation, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.