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AARP AARP States North Carolina Livable Communities

AARP Grants Make Communities More Livable

NC 2023 Grantees are Here Animated Social.mp4

RALEIGH, NC -- In 2023, AARP North Carolina provided seven organizations throughout the state Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.6 million awarded among 310 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable by improving public places; transportation; housing; digital connections; diversity, equity and inclusion; and more, with an emphasis on the needs of adults ages 50 and older.

“AARP North Carolina is committed to working with local leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said AARP North Carolina Director Michael Olender. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for older North Carolinians.

The North Carolina projects funded include:

Sustain Charlotte

This project will engage older adult volunteers in a staff-facilitated project to create a high-quality online accessibility map of Mecklenburg County's greenway network.

The Town of Matthews

This project will encourage this community and its older residents to walk along the trail in their neighborhood.  The mural will bring awareness to the trail and visible recognition of how the trail connects from the sidewalk to the trailhead.

Carolina Cross Connections (CCC)

CCC's Home Repair program builds independence and pride for older adults by ensuring safe-access in and out of homes, while providing the opportunity to connect with youth in order to repair the social and emotional damages of isolation.


NC Gullah Geechee Heritage Trail

This demonstration project includes building an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant trail segment, educational storyboards and prayer benches at the Reaves Chapel site. The benches will allow visitors to pause after touring the church and take time to review the history of the area.

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El Centro (Brevard)

El Centro will improve its garden to increase produce created for Hispanic/Latino families and older adults. It will add a 50 ft x 50 ft patch of tilled rows. Participants will be able to take home tomatoes, peppers, and herbs that are popular in many recipes. Cooking, exercise, and gardening classes will supplement the program to boost participation.

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Age Friendly Advocate (Age Friendly Forsyth)

This project would reinforce the availability of information about services and supports for the aging population by developing and training volunteer Aging Services Ambassadors.

The Town of Chapel Hill

This project will transform major road corridors and neighborhood streets into spaces that are safe and accessible by installing traffic calming infrastructure that meets the needs of older adults and reduces traffic deaths and major injuries.

AARP Community Challenge grant projects are being funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. True to the program’s quick-action nature, projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.

This year, the AARP Community Challenge accepted applications across three different grant opportunities, including existing flagship grants in addition to new capacity-building microgrants for improving walkability and community gardens. New demonstration grants will focus on improving transportation systems, with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America, and housing choice design competitions.

AARP is also bolstering its investment in rural communities, mobility innovation, transportation options, and health and food access.

“These grants continue to lead to long-term, positive changes in communities across the country,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This year, we are proud to support the largest number of projects in the program’s seven-year history, which will improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes so everyone can thrive as they age.”

The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages, especially those age 50 and older. Since 2017, AARP North Carolina has awarded 31 grants and $385,000 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.

Also in 2023, Governor Roy Cooper enlisted North Carolina into the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities. Since then, the state is developing a mutlisector plan on aging that will direct all agencies to work together to make our cities, towns and rural areas better for people of all ages.

View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at  and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at

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