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AARP Rhode Island Now Accepting 2022 Community Challenge Grant Applications

The annual program aims to make local communities in Rhode Island more livable

AARP Rhode Island 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. Now 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.

“AARP Rhode Island is excited to kick-off the Community Challenge again in 2022 to continue helping communities across the Ocean State become great places for people of all backgrounds, abilities and ages, especially people 50-plus,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor. “The program has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements right where Rhode Islanders live.”

AARP will prioritize proposals that support residents age 50 and over, are inclusive, address disparities, directly engage volunteers and aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes for all residents, especially people age 50 and older:

  • 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 the built and social environment of a community.
  • 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.

Since 2017, AARP has awarded over 800 grants – including 12 in Rhode Island totaling $171,000 – 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.

In 2021, AARP Rhode Island awarded three Community Challenge Grants totaling $51,000.

  • Southside Community Land Trust - $6,000
    Youth residents built accessible garden beds and outdoor recreation space at Providence’s St. Martin De Porres Center.

  • Progreso Latino - $15,000
    A Community Pavilion was constructed to create a space for the community to safely connect with one another and allow those with accessibility needs to participate in activities.
  • Providence Community Library - $30,000
    The Knight Memorial Library enhanced landscaping to create an accessible, resource-rich park that will provide a warm welcome to neighbors living in the diverse West End of Providence. Watch for a video this spring!

The program provides direct support to all community types, with nearly 40% of past projects benefitting rural communities, 20% going to suburban locations and 40% improving urban places. Granted projects have demonstrated an ability to help garner additional funds or support from public and private funders, encourage replication and overcome local policy barriers, and receive greater overall awareness and engagement.

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 for larger projects.

The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2022. To submit an application and view past grantees, visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.

AARP Rhode Island works in collaboration with communities across the state, bringing people together, and providing resources and expertise to help make counties, towns and cities great places to live for people of all ages. Learn more about our work at www.aarp.org/RILivable.

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