AARP Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on supporting and advancing effective solutions to help vulnerable older adults transform their lives today and secure the essentials for their future. We’re working side by side with other organizations to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. We seek to support organizations whose evidence-based interventions can make a direct impact on the low-income 50+ and that align with our strategic priorities.
How We Make Investments
To create and advance effective solutions that help vulnerable people 50+, we collaborate with grantee and partner organizations to identify evidence-based interventions that make transformational impact possible and address our strategic objectives.
Because we view grants as investments, we seek clearly defined returns on the grants we make. For example, if we are funding an employment program for low-income 50+, the return will be not only the outputs (number of people achieving employment), but also the outcomes (employment rate compared to organizations with similar programs). We will work with you to ensure we can capture the data necessary to measure the results to achieve acceptable returns.
We seek interventions that have achieved a level of evidence that demonstrates their impact on their intended beneficiaries. Organizations seeking to work with AARP Foundation should demonstrate their level of evidence based on the following three categories:
• Pre-preliminary: Program model supported by theoretical framework and/or previous research.
• Preliminary: Systematically collected data that tracks who is served, and the outputs and outcomes that are achieved.
• Moderate: Evaluations that support causal conclusions but cannot be generalized beyond the study group.
• Strong: Evaluation(s) that support causal conclusions with a large range of participants or multiple evaluations supporting the same conclusion.
The likelihood and amount of grant tends to be correlated to the level of evidence and type of impact your intervention provides.
Concept Process for Developing Grants
We utilize a standard process to develop our grants: concept; pre-proposal; application and agreement; implementation and management.
• Concept: Our program staff work with researchers, experts, stakeholders, partners and peers to identify ideas that support our strategic objectives. Internal discussion leads to a decision to move forward with a concept.
• Pre-Proposal: We employ three methods – direct, direct competition and open competition – to tap the expertise of the field and explore and refine concepts.
Direct. We determine a single organization is best-suited and uniquely qualified to achieve the work.
Direct Competition. We invite a limited group of eligible organizations who have distinctive abilities or structures to accomplish the work.
Open Competition. We want to have a better understanding of the marketplace, to identify best practices or seek high-performing organizations through seek proposals from any eligible organization.
• Application and Agreement: We offer organizations the opportunity to submit applications through our online application system. Applications must address specific considerations through a narrative and include a budget, scope of work and evaluation framework.
Applications are reviewed by internal staff and, occasionally, external experts. Decisions are made as to whether to fund a proposal.
Before funded activities commence, AARP Foundation and the selected organization sign a grant agreement that includes the grant term, targets, how data will be captured and shared, deliverables and payment and grant reporting schedules.
Implementation and Management
AARP Foundation staff and the selected organization will work together and regularly communicate to understand the progress and challenges of the ongoing work. The organization will report its progress through grant reports, and AARP Foundation will make payments as determined by the grant agreement.