On our daily commutes or errands, we all see these sorts of problems—the unfriendly bus stop, the sidewalk that just suddenly ends, the abandoned park in disrepair. They’re little problems that could be quickly fixed, but the realities of competing priorities mean they often don’t make it to the top of the list.
Believing that quick action can spark longer-term progress, AARP launched the Community Challenge in 2017 to fund projects that build momentum to improve livability for all. The deadline to apply is April 1.
Nonprofits—specifically those incorporated as 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6)—as well as government entities are encouraged to apply. Proposals from other organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for short-term activities to tens of thousands for larger projects. All projects must be completed by Monday, Nov. 9.
AARP Community Challenge Grant applications should aim to:
- *New in 2020* Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of community inclusion and diversity;
- Create vibrant public places through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and enhance access to amenities;
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements;
- Support the availability of a range of housing through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options;
- Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by developing and implementing innovative programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding and using data and participating in decision-making to increase quality of life for all; or
- Improve the community in other innovative ways.
Since 2017, the AARP Community Challenge has funded 376 projects nationwide, including eight right here in Texas:
- 2017, Houston: Avenue CDC created public art murals and an event designed to bring the community together. By improving once off-putting public spaces, the project increased walkability and reduced barriers to healthy foods and activities
- 2017, Houston: Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston helped make the homes of older adults safe and livable. In addition, volunteers helped older adults with yard work and household chores.
- 2017, Fort Worth: Linwood Neighborhood Association partnered the urban planning firm Team Better Block to install a temporary traffic circle, along with signage and improved lighting. Within three months of the installation, the city was moving forward with plans to make the well-rounded solution permanent.
- 2018, Dallas: buildingcommunityWORKSHOP enhanced public walkways, including increasing pedestrian accessibility for people with mobility impairments.
- 2018: The City of Elsa installed four bus shelters along a one-mile stretch of State Highway 107, increasing the availability of local public transit options.
- 2019, The City of Allen purchased electric- and pedal-powered adult tricycles to allow people with varying levels of mobility to access and enjoy local trail systems and recreational areas.
- 2019: The City of Brownsville transformed Brownsville’s 14th Street Plaza from an unkempt and underutilized space into a vibrant, inclusive, safe, clean and beautiful multi-generational public space.
- 2019: The City of Richardson demoed replacing driving lanes at a major thoroughfare with a bicycle lane and an artistic pedestrian crosswalk. The concept aimed to make streets safer and more pedestrian friendly.
For more information or to apply, visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.