Harrisburg, PA —Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including six Pennsylvania recipients. A total of nearly $1.6 million will be distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
Nearly 1,700 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
- Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
- Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
The Pennsylvania grant winners include:
- United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Allentown ($3,000) - The project will improve a public space adjacent to a senior center and an area of the community used by people of all ages by adding tables, benches and chairs, lighting and flower beds.
- Transportation Management Association of Chester County, Malvern ($2,963.60) - Grant funds will support large-print, bi-lingual bus schedule signs that will improve the livability and accessibility of bus lines by making the bus system easier to interpret and use, as well as increasing the number of senior and Spanish-speaking riders.
- Upper Darby Township Community Development, Upper Darby ($4,000) – This project will help bring renewed activity, improve safety and add a dynamic feel to downtown Upper Darby by installing lighting, seating, and a mural along a path to a shopping and service corridor.
- Grounded Strategies, Pittsburgh ($5,000) - This grant improves the Hill District by recruiting volunteers to help activate reclaiming vacant land in the community.
- Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Philadelphia ($6,100) – The grant will fund a temporary, community-driven art installation at the Beechview Healthy Living Center, opening a public space in a senior center for people of all ages.
- City of Philadelphia Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity, Philadelphia ($10,000) – The eviction prevention landlord-tenant mediation program will utilize mediation, financial assistance, information, and referrals to reach mutually agreeable solutions in landlord-tenant disputes, reduce eviction and displacement, and foster vibrant, inclusive communities for residents of all income levels.
“Communities across Pennsylvania are working each and every day to become more livable for residents of all ages,” said AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “These quick action grants provide opportunities to fund innovative projects that can help improve the quality of life in communities.”
The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.
“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge grant program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. As part of this, AARP staff and volunteers are working across the country, engaging and mobilizing residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 381 communities and four states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.