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AARP Community Challenge 2017 — Submission Guidelines

The deadline has passed, but you can still learn about our grant program to make communities more livable for people of all ages

The following information was posted when the submission period was open. 

AARP staff and volunteers across the country are working with local leaders and organizations to enhance the quality of life for all people of all ages. We know that great communities take time to build and sustain. But "quick actions" can be the critical spark for longer-term progress.

That's why the AARP Community Challenge funded projects to help build momentum. If the idea was big, no project was too small. Projects could range from short-term activities costing a few hundred dollars to sizable efforts that needed thousands. Scroll down to learn more.

AARP Community Challenge

Who Could Apply

Eligible for Funding

  • 501(C)(3) and 501(C)(4) nonprofits 
  • Government entities

Not Eligible for Funding

  • Partisan, political or election-related activities
  • Studies with no follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • The acquisition of land and/or buildings
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
  • Sponsorships of other organizations' events
  • Planning and related support
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services
  • Communities or projects beyond the United States and its territories 

2017 Challenge Timeline

July 15: Application deadline. You can preview the application here.

August 8-14Letters of Agreement are sent to the chosen grantees

August 14+:  Emails are sent to non-selected applicants

August 21: Response deadline for grantees to return their Letter of Agreement

September 7: The chosen grantees are announced to the public

November 1: All projects must be completed by this date

November 13-17: Some projects will be profiled at the AARP Livable Communities Conference

December 1: Deadline for grantees to complete and submit their After Action Report

Project Parameters

Projects need to deliver on one or all of the following drivers for change. (Find project examples for each category here.)

  1. Improve a community's built environment to benefit people of all ages and ability levels and connect to the social environment. 

  2. Expand opportunities for all residents, such as through jobs, volunteerism, educational opportunities and training.

  3. Drive community engagement and interaction across diverse community residents via, for instance, efforts in the domains of culture and art, local communications, public spaces and placemaking, sports, education, well-being, healthy living, etc.

For the November 1 deadline, the activity defined in the proposal is required to have been held, built or fully implemented.

Grant Selection Process

Grant recipients will be selected by an AARP panel of experts in aging issues, community development, and livable communities. In general, the projects will be judged on the degree to which their goals make an immediate change that leads to longer-term impact.

Submissions must meet the following threshold criteria to be considered:

  • All items in the grant application have been addressed or else noted as non-applicable
  • The grant will not be used for partisan, political or election related activities, or property acquisition

  • The grant will not be used to promote a for-profit or its products and/or services

  • The grant is for one of the listed qualified uses in the Project Development Support Program section of the application

More specifically, the projects will be assessed on:

  • Impact (60 points): Addressing a clear community need through the AARP Community Challenge project that brings a positive benefit to the community and its residents, and also demonstrates the ability to accelerate, grow and/or sustain the community's livability for all

  • Innovation (10 points): The creativity, aesthetic beauty and potential to spark additional community change through the AARP Community Challenge project

  • Execution (30 points): The ability to deliver the AARP Community Challenge project on time and within the awarded budget

All selections are subject to a final review based on the project ranking, geographic and project diversity, and budget allowance.  

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements and enter their submission with all pertinent information via the AARP Community Challenge online application. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

LEARN MORE: Watch a 30 second video about the AARP Community Challenge


NOTIFICATION: Grant recipients will be notified by email. Grantees must execute and return a binding Letter of Agreement to AARP within seven (7) days of notification. Noncompliance with this time period may result in disqualification. 

By submitting an application to AARP, the applicant agrees that:

  • The decisions of AARP regarding the eligibility of participants and the validity of entries shall be final and binding.
  • All submissions will be judged by AARP whose decisions and determinations as to the administration of the award and selection of award recipients are final.
  • AARP has the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, or suspend the award.
  • All projects and applications shall not violate any third-party rights. Except where prohibited by law, participation in the award constitutes the Applicant's consent to AARP's use of the organization's  name and corporate logo, street address, city, state, ZIP code, county, and names, likenesses, photographs, videos, images, and statements made or provided by the Applicant's representatives regarding the award for promotional purposes in any media without further permission, consent, payment or other consideration.

AARP and its affiliated organizations, subsidiaries, agents and employees are not responsible for late, lost, illegible, incomplete, stolen, misdirected, illegitimate, or impermissible submissions or any other error whether human, mechanical or electronic.

Please email questions to

Page updated August 11, 2017