AARP Oklahoma invites local organizations and governments across the state to apply for the 2022 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through March 22, 2022. Grants fund quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long term by improving public spaces, transportation, housing, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion and more.
In its sixth year, 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. 13 Oklahoma grantees from across the state in both rural and urban areas have been recipients of Community Challenge Grant funds since the program began.
"AARP Oklahoma is excited to kick-off the Community Challenge again in 2022 to continue helping communities across Oklahoma become great places for people of all backgrounds, abilities and ages, especially people 50-plus," said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. "The program has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements right where Oklahomans live."
Past Oklahoma Community Challenge grant winners include public art installations, Coronavirus/COVID-19 response and recovery, community engagement activities, public safety interventions, public space activations, community gardening projects, roadway improvements and traffic calming solutions.
AARP will prioritize Community Challenge grant proposals that are inclusive, address disparities, directly engage volunteers, support residents age 50 and older and aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Support communities' efforts to build engagement and leverage funding available under new federal programs through laws like the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and more
- Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements
- Support a range of housing options that increases the availability of accessible and affordable choices
- Ensure a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion while improving a community's built and social environment
- Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
- Other community improvements including health services, community development, and coronavirus pandemic recovery
The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to tens of thousands of dollars for larger projects.
The application deadline is 4 p.m. CST, March 22, 2022. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2022. To submit an application and view past grantees, visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.
Since 2017, AARP has awarded over 800 grants through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The program provides direct support to all community types, including rural, suburban and urban communities. Previous projects have enabled long-term progress by garnering additional support from public and private funders, encouraging similar improvements throughout the community, advancing local policy, and generating engagement among residents and local leaders to advocate for change.
Locally, AARP Oklahoma collaborates with communities across the state, bringing people together and providing resources and expertise to help make Oklahoma's counties, towns and cities great places to live for people of all ages.