Communities across Nebraska 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 Nebraska is incredibly proud to have six 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 Nebraska, these exciting and diverse projects were funded:
- Siouxland Freedom Park: The $25,000 grant will support completion of a trail accessibility project in Siouxland Freedom Park, a veterans’ memorial park located along the bank of the Missouri River in South Sioux City. The trail will enable veterans with disabilities and older adults with mobility challenges to fully enjoy the park amenities.
- Canopy South: The $11,175 grant will activate and enhance public space adjacent to a historic landmark, by working with South Omaha residents to install public art, seating, and raised garden beds at a park with high foot traffic from people of all ages.
- Grow Grand Island: The $4500 grant will be used to explore ways to strengthen Grand Island neighborhoods with a community event in August and a “neighboring kit” for attendees. The project will also support use of AARP’s walk audit tool by neighborhood organizations to identify safety issues.
- Haigler Community Foundation: The $4500 grant will revitalize and repurpose the Haigler tennis and basketball courts into a vibrant public gathering place for people of all ages, with a special focus on wellness and accessibility for older adults.
- Heartland Bike Share: The $6200 grant will create dedicated programming for Lincoln’s bike share system to address barriers that prevent usage–designed with older adults in mind–and create an engaged network of volunteer ambassadors ready to educate their community about its benefits.
- University of Nebraska Foundation: The $8,587 grant will test and evaluate recent innovations to ensure the comfort and safety of seniors who use wheelchairs at the Sustainable Small House demonstration project located at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The project will focus on creating a secure bathroom environment maximizing comfort and ease of use.
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.
Since 2017, AARP Nebraska has awarded 18 grants and $175,112 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.
To learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge both here in Nebraska 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 Nebraska’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.