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AARP AARP States Wisconsin

Small Dollar Big Impact 2022 Year-End Review

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Looking back on a year of impact
Small Dollar, Big Impact grants are exactly what the name describes – simple, short-term, low-cost solutions that could have remarkable impacts on the shaping of neighborhoods and cities. Take a look back at the recipients of the SDBI grant from 2022.

To learn more about this program, visit

You can also view recipients from 2020 here, and from 2021 here.

RHINELANDER - Heaters for Heal Creek Dog Dash & Winter Festival
On Feb. 26 and 27, Rhinelander will host what appears to be the first sanctioned dog sled race in its history, according to Niina Baum, a board member of the Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club, a nonprofit organization based in Phelps that helps put on dogsled races and promotes the ethical treatment of dogs.

Competitors from all over the country will bring their dog teams to Rhinelander’s Northwood Golf Course for the Heal Creek Dog Dash & Winter Fest. Activities at the event will include snowshoeing, downhill sledding, bonfires, live music, and watching dogsled and skijor races.

Since the festival is primarily an outdoor event, the group will use the $1,000 AARP grant to purchase four propane heaters for participants and spectators to enjoy warming areas at various locations. After the event, the heaters will be used for other outdoor functions, including a second annual winter fest.


GREENDALE - Intergenerational Crafting Sessions
The Village of Greendale Health Department will be hosting three crafting sessions, and they plan to use the funds from the Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant to purchase craft materials, supplies, snacks, and use of event facilities.

Two of these events will be held a the Field Workshop in Greendale, with the third taking place at the Harbour Village senior living facility, where residents will have the opportunity to invite a grandchild to join them and work together on the craft projects.

“These events are targeted at grandparents and their grandchildren and will involve them working side-by-side on creative projects of their choice as a way to participate in fun and interactive bonding activities,” said Shawne Johnson, Public Health Manager for the Greendale Health Department. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided along with conversation starter cards on the snack table.

The Greendale Health Department has a focus on promoting wellness and improving the health of all community members. Its values include health equity, partnerships, stewardship, and unity.

The dates for all three crafting events will soon be posted on Greendale’s health department website and Facebook page once they are available.


The Reeseville Public Library will create 10 “Naturalist To Go Kits” for families to check out from the library and utilize in various nature/science settings.

The kits will center around the themes of insects, rocks, astronomy, trees and weather. Each kit will include three books, a clipboard, a pack of colored pencils, a No. 2 pencil, a nature journal with blank paper, coloring pages, a laminated information set (seven pages on a metal ring), and items specific to the science such as a set of junior binoculars, compass, plastic ruler or magnifying glass.

The items will all be packed into canvas backpacks, which will be available for checkout at the library. Families can come in and pick out a theme to learn more about, then take the kit out into nature for their own adventure.


The City of Peshtigo Park and Recreation Department will be using the SDBI grant to purchase equipment to offer a workout called “Cardio Drumming for Exercise”.

Cardio Drumming for Exercise provides a fun and healthy form of cardio workout. The exercise can be performed while standing or sitting, enabling participants of all ages to engage in a fun workout. Each drumming class will be designed to a specific age group using music, rhythm techniques and various levels of drumming.


the Prairie du Chien Main Street Program will use the funds to purchase amenities for a new weekly farmer’s market in an unused downtown parking lot. Part of the grant will be used to purchase an ADA compliant picnic table for the Thursday Night Farmers Market, helping the community become more age friendly.

The new farmer’s market opened for the first time this spring and will be held every Thursday through mid-October from 4 to 7 p.m. in a previously unused parking lot downtown at the corner of Beaumont Road and Blackhawk Avenue. Nearly a dozen vendors selling a mix of everything from food to plants and flowers are already setting up every week at the farmer’s market, and there is plenty of room for additional vendors.


Fitchburg has a network of over 36 miles of multi-use paths for all ages and abilities. However, there has been no prior effort to document and promote this network as an active transportation system. The $1,000 grant from AARP will be used to buy brackets, posts, and signs, which will be installed and maintained by the city as part of an officially designated “Fitchburg Greenway System.”

The Fitchburg Greenway System signs, maps, and publicity will help residents without cars walk or ride bikes to many destinations that meet daily needs, such as jobs, stores, library, day care, senior center, medical care, parks, and city hall, and other places that are not reachable by public transit.


Heart 2 Heart Compassionate Widow’s Circles, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee, will use their Small Dollar, Big Impact funds to provide additional food, equipment, supplies, and a chef to facilitate two “Cooking with Seniors” classes.

“Cooking is not just a chore that has to be done," Hibbler said, "it is an opportunity to escape your realities, relieve stress and free your mind. Seniors will be encouraged to be creative while finding joy in cooking in a fun-filled social environment. After all, when seniors cook their own meals, they are able to control their dietary intake while eating healthy and trying new recipes. Our chefs will provide instruction on how to purchase, prepare, cook, and serve a meal."


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