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AARP AARP States West Virginia Livable Communities

Five WV Projects Among Those Receiving AARP Community Challenge Grant Funding

AARP West Virginia has announced five state winners for the AARP Community Challenge Grant Program, aiming to create change and improve quality of life at the community-level.

WV - AARP Comm Challenge

Nationally, AARP Community Challenge grants totaling $3.6 million have been awarded to 310 organizations to support projects that make communities livable for people of all ages.

Each project was partially or fully funded through the AARP Community Challenge grant and is set to be completed by November 30, 2023.

West Virginia community projects receiving 2023 AARP Community Challenge Grant Awards include:

Fayette County
National Coal Heritage Area Authority | New River Gorge Hiking Guide & Trail Enhancements
Grant funds will be used to develop a “Hike Into History” guide to provide an interpretive elements to visitors hiking in and around the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, design, and install wayside exhibits and benches along selected trails.

Kanawha County
Heart+Hand Outreach Ministries | South Charleston Community Garden Project
Grant funds will be used to develop a community garden in the City of South Charleston, utilizing volunteers to plant, tend to and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables for food pantry boxes that are delivered monthly to low-income senior residents in the Kanawha Valley region.

Marion County
Marion County Senior Center | Mannington Outdoor Fitness Enhancements
Grant funds will be used to purchase and install outdoor fitness equipment along the Joel McCann Memorial Trail at two locations – at Mannington Senior Center and near City Hall.

Ohio County
Wheeling Heritage | Market Plaza Pocket Park
Grant funds will be used to develop a downtown public green space at Wheeling’s Market Plaza, a project of Volunteer Wheeling and the Wheeling Heritage Board. Improvements will include installation of public art, mosaic tile, lighting, planters, seating, and tables.

Tucker County
National Youth Science Academy | Davis Community Garden Project
Grant funds will be used to develop a community garden on the Davis campus of the National Youth Science Academy with community partners to grow produce for local families and supply the local food bank, while also utilizing the community garden as a living laboratory and classroom for STEAM educational programming for learners of all ages focused on local food security, preparation, preservation and health living.

Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; digital connections, diversity, equity, and inclusion; civic engagement; and more, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.

“AARP West Virginia is committed to working with local leaders to improve the quality of life in our communities through tangible changes,” shared AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jump long-term change, especially for 50-plus West Virginians and their families.”

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 Community Challenge 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. Since 2017, AARP West Virginia has awarded 21 grants totaling nearly $200,000 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.

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


AARP WV Media Contact: Tom Hunter, 304.340.4605,

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