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Grants Program


Request for Applications (CLOSED)

Work for Yourself@50+℠: Older Adult Self-Employment Grant Program

AARP Foundation is requesting applications from eligible organizations to partner with the Foundation to host the workshop component of Work for Yourself@50+ – a new initiative that will help low income adults age 50+ to understand the pros and cons of self-employment and support them through the early steps to take that will encourage their success. Partner organizations will host and facilitate introductory workshops designed by AARP Foundation to walk participants through the Work for Yourself@50+ - materials. In addition, partner organizations will: connect program participants with local, accessible resources; submit timely reports on workshop attendance and participant referrals; and regularly participate in a “community of practice” with other grantees to assist with the evaluation of this initiative and help to build a body of evidence regarding its effectiveness.

Program Overview

In September 2016, with support from The Hartford, AARP Foundation launched Work for Yourself@50+ – an initiative to help older vulnerable adults assess opportunities to pursue self-employment and build the skills and connect with resources that will enable them to generate income through working for themselves in a variety of ways. 

Creating and owning a business has long been heralded as a path to financial success and economic mobility. In fact, business equity is the second largest source of household wealth behind home equity. For low- and moderate- income (LMI) individuals, self-employment and business ownership can contribute meaningfully to family economic security. However, low-income older adults considering entrepreneurship as a career move, or who are looking to reenter the workforce in a nontraditional capacity face unique hurdles that can prevent them from successfully attaining their goals, and many may not know where to connect with trustworthy resources to help them reach their goals.

The decision to pursue a new venture is not one to be taken lightly and Work for Yourself@50+ breaks the choices down for older adults in an approachable way through five steps:

  1. A careful consideration of the potential and perils of working for yourself
  2. Exercises to help develop the self-employment idea
  3. A realistic overview of what it takes to pursue a self-employment opportunity
  4. Guidance to help avoid pitfalls and scams
  5. Ways to find trustworthy support and services

Grant Award Information

Potential Award Range: $10,000 - $20,000 grants awarded to up to 13 partner organizations
Grant Period: May 5, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Proposal Type: Work for Yourself@50+ Partner Grants Round 2
Reporting Requirements: In addition to the reports specified in the grantee implementation activities above, AARP Foundation requires quarterly programmatic and financial reports.  Reports are due by the end of the calendar month following the calendar quarter end.
Indirect Cost Rate: AARP Foundation will fund an indirect cost rate of 10% of the total direct costs or the grant program. 

Application Process

Applications had to be submitted via the AARP Foundation online grants application portal by March 17, 2017 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

The following documents must be uploaded and attached to the Attachments section of the application:

  • Documentation stating existing tax status

  • At least two (2) Letters of Agreement (LOAs) or Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) from local organizations that provide any of the following programs or services: financial capability classes or coaching, microbusiness development training or microfinance support, business boot camps, employment services, entrepreneur mentorship programs, workforce development or vocational training, or other related services not currently offered at your organization. The LOAs or MOUs from the above partners should acknowledge that they are aware of the proposed project and willing to be a resource to which the grantee can refer participants for additional support services following the completion of the Work for Yourself@50+ workshop.

  • Completed Project Budget utilizing the Excel spreadhseet template provided on the grants application portal (closed).

Applicants may be contacted for clarifications to their Applications. Clarifications should be uploaded to the Application site and must be completed by April 7, 2017 by 11:59pm Eastern time.  Further details about the clarification process will be provided as appropriate.

All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their application no later than May 5, 2017. 

Please send any questions to   

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