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AARP Community Challenge 2018 Grantees

129 quick-action projects help make communities more livable for people of all ages

For the second annual AARP Community Challenge, AARP received more than 1,600 applications from nonprofits and government entities, resulting in a highly competitive selection process. A total of $1.3 million was distributed to fund 129 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.

Download the 2018 AARP Community Challenge Grantees booklet to read fuller descriptions of the winning projects.

The winners had a project completion deadline of November 5, 2018. The list below is organized by state and location, followed by the name of the grantee organization and a brief project description. 

Winning projects are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability and/or and access to public and private transit.

  • Create vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.

  • Support the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options.


  • Montgomery: City of Montgomery Planning Department
    Grant funds will pay for the installation of two pedestrian crossing signals and a colorful crosswalk, increasing pedestrian safety through creative measures.
  • Oxford: City of Oxford
    Grant funds will finance 10 park benches and bike racks along Main Street in the city's historic downtown, encouraging people of all ages to walk or ride bicycles.


  • Kenai: Kenaitze Indian Tribe (IRA)
    Six permanent raised garden beds will be installed on Kenaitze tribal land around a wellness center for traditional Dena'ina medicinal plants. Photo Album


  • Tempe: City of Tempe
    As part of the city’s Dementia Friendly initiative, this grant will be used to install wayfinding signs in community centers, develop a rating tool for the community’s Memory Cafes and develop a video for training volunteers to assist in Dementia Friendly programs. Video

  • Tucson: Living Streets Alliance
    Grant funds will be used to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility, and foster a stronger sense of place by transforming an intersection with colorful crosswalks, temporary curb bulb-outs, seating and planter boxes. Photo Album


  • Conway: Conway Downtown Partnership
    This grant will improve Simon Park by installing new bike racks, planters and a mural, and developing programming to engage the community in the process.

  • Little Rock: City of Little Rock
    The city will implement a Bike-Friendly Driver Program to improve transportation safety and decrease collisions between bicycles, pedestrians and drivers.

  • Morrilton: City of Morrilton Parks and Recreation
    This grant will be used to create a "hammock park" in Morrilton so people of all ages can hang hammocks and relax, enjoy nature and spend time together.


  • Chula Vista: Chula Vista Development Services/Age-Friendly Communities
    The city will create new resources — including a video, field trips and free transit passes for older adults — to illustrate how simple it can be to use public transit.

  • Long BeachWalk Long Beach

    Walk Long Beach will create two temporary crosswalks and expand programming around a 10-mile community walk to enhance safety and engagement and improve public space aesthetics. Photo Album

  • San Diego: City Heights Community Development Corporation
    This grant will enhance the vibrancy of the Little East Africa neighborhood by installing culturally-relevant and branded cues through permanent art features and enhancements to a local bus stop. Photo Album

  • San Francisco: Florence Fang Asian Community Garden
    The grant will help activate 10,000 square-feet of land within the community garden, expand training and improve the facilities used to distribute healthy food. Photo Album

  • West Sacramento: City of West Sacramento
    The city will develop educational programming to encourage older adults to use the city’s on-demand car and bicycle transportation system. Video


  • Colorado Springs: Innovations in Aging Collaborative
    Building on the results of a recent walk audit, this grant will add lighting and universally-accessible benches along the Sand Creek Trail, which connects key community hubs,
    to enhance the path's safety, beauty and usability. 

  • Denver: Colorado Nonprofit Development Center 
    This grant will help improve safety, walkability and connectivity along the Federal Boulevard corridor by supporting a pop-up demonstration of innovative traffic-calming features.

  • Fort Collins: Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities
    Grant funding will be applied toward improving the use of various mobility options by coordinating among six distinct transportation entities to provide an experiential training for new riders. After the full-day travel-training adventure, the riders will help spread the word to others in northern Colorado, especially those 50-plus.


  • Hebron: The Town Center Project
    The grant will fund the creation and placement of decorative chairs, hand-painted by local artists, to encourage more people to walk outside, relax, and engage with one another.
  • New Milford: Town of New Milford
    Grant funds will help purchase park benches and game-tables for use along an ADA-accessible walking path to encourage walking and social engagement.

  • Stafford: Citizens Advisory Committee and Town of Stafford
    This grant will help improve the River Walk Trail to better connect Stafford residents with the outdoors while expanding social opportunities for residents. The trail directly supports the town’s plan for future growth.


  • Claymont: Claymont Community Center
    This grant will be used to create a walking path and ramp to better connect and engage community members with a 100,000 square-foot activity center, which houses a walking track and fields.

District of Columbia

  • Washington, D.C.: Capitol Hill Village
    Funds will be used in support of a program to increase the ability of low-income older adults to use technology and transportation options for mobility and access to services.



  • Atlanta: MicroLife Institute
    This grant will help demonstrate the viability of micro (200- to 500-square-foot) accessory dwelling units through the construction of two backyard bungalows, which are now legal as a result of a recent city code adoption supporting detached ADUs. Video and Photo Album

  • Augusta: Augusta Recreation & Parks Department
    Grant funds will be used to improve the safety and comfort of the Henry H. Bingham Park by installing benches and street trees and integrating tai chi into park programming.


  • Honolulu: Bikeshare Hawaii
    The grant will fund a workshop, social rides and free bikeshare access in order to build confidence and familiarity among older adults with a mobility option that promotes healthy lifestyles.

  • Honolulu: The Trust for Public Land (Hawai'i office)
    Grant monies will help temporarily activate and connect key areas along the Lei of Parks pathway  by using art, temporary traffic signs and signals to facilitate the movement of people between three shoreline parks. Video


  • Caldwell: Destination Caldwell
    The grant will be used to improve downtown Caldwell by installing oversized games (like Jenga, cornhole and chess), mosaic tables and benches in a local plaza.

  • Kamiah: Carrot Ridge Volunteer Fire District
    This grant will be used toward establishing a community gathering space for all residents, especially older adults.

  • Pocatello: NeighborWorks Pocatello
    This grant will provide for a mobile "Block Party Trailer" to be utilized throughout Pocatello in order to activate existing public spaces and create new spaces for social gatherings.


  • Chicago: Chicago Department of Transportation
    This grant will support the installation of temporary parklets in parking lanes along a commercial corridor and sidewalk enhancements to improve pedestrian safety, community engagement and economic development. 

  • Chicago: Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
    Grant funds will be used for a demonstration of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and for the development of model code language throughout the metropolitan area to increase awareness about and the production of this housing type.


  • Gary: City of Gary Redevelopment Commission
    The grant will help provide for a new park on a formerly blighted vacant lot and offer free or low-cost events, programming and amenities to the general public.

  • Indianapolis: IndyGo
    Grant funds will be used to offer a transit stipend and training to the older adults living in low-income housing. The goal is to increase the use of rideshare so the residents can travel independently to health care, shopping, recreation and other destinations.


  • Avoca: Avoca Public Library
    Grant funds will be used toward the construction of a musical park space that will feature outdoor musical instruments and a library green space that can serve as a gathering place for people of all ages and abilities. (video)

  • Keokuk: Keokuk Parks Foundation
    This grant will help convert existing tennis courts into dedicated pickleball courts.
  • Manning: Main Street Manning
    The grant will fund decorative lighting along Main Street to increase the safety and use of public spaces along the three-block corridor.
  • Woodbine: Woodbine Main Street
    The grant will provide for interpretive signs to be mounted on buildings and in pocket parks along Main Street in order to share the history of the community and serve as a focal point for new walking loops throughout the downtown.


  • Gardner: City of Gardner
    This grant will fund a pop-up demonstration of an ADA-accessible, portable parklet as part of a larger process encouraging places for people, which is a key part of Gardner's downtown revitalization strategy.

  • Shawnee Mission: The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County
    This grant will enable the expansion of BikeWalkKC to purchase smart bikes and additional equipment to increase accessibility to bikes among county residents.


  • Danville: Heart of Danville
    The grant will support the installation of the first community mural in downtown Danville and engage 1,000 residents in the design and painting of the mural. Photo Album

  • Lexington: City of Lexington Aging and Disability Services
    The grant will fund the development of an accessory dwelling units manual to encourage the construction of ADUs so caregivers and family members can live in close proximity of an adult in need of in-home support. Article and Photo Album

  • Louisville: Louisville Metro Government
    This grant will help improve sidewalks, pavers, benches and art to increase safety and access to green spaces and artistic places along the 9th Street corridor. Video


  • Baton Rouge: Center for Planning Excellence
    The grant will provide lighting, safe pedestrian crossings and programming for walking clubs to increase the safety and pedestrian activity near Longfellow Park. Video

  • DeRidder: City of DeRidder
    Grant funds will be used toward the creation of faux-brick crosswalks at 17 downtown intersections and the installation of wayfinding directional signs to improve walkability and access to cultural, social and healthy foods.


  • Blue Hill: Blue Hill Heritage Trust
    The grant will support the construction of a new age-friendly trail in Blue Hill in order to increase connectivity in the traditional downtown and adjacent areas. 

  • Eastport: City of Eastport
    The grant will provide for the installation of outdoor musical instruments in Cony Park, further activating the public space and encouraging people of all ages to play music.

  • Gardiner: City of Gardiner
    This grant will help in developing a pop-up demonstration near the public library of different sidewalk treatments in order to engage input prior to any permanent improvements being made as part of Gardiner's age-friendly plan.

  • Raymond: Raymond Village Library
    The grant will fund a new intergenerational, adaptive garden to promote activity and engagement among all age groups and provide food for the local food pantry. 

  • Readfield: Age-Friendly Community Committee
    The grant will allow the community to revitalize an intergenerational outdoor space to include seating, bike racks and picnic tables at the historic Readfield Fairgrounds.

  • SacoAge Friendly Saco
    The grant funding will enable the city to install ADA-compliant beach mats and devices to improve mobility and accessibility to local beaches for all. Video and Photo Album


  • Annapolis: Annapolis Arts District
    Funding will allow the community to install artistic bike racks throughout the arts district to encourage a safer, more bikeable community for all ages.

  • Berlin: Town of Berlin
    This grant will allow the town to purchase tables and seating to be set up during events that occur on Main Street, providing a place to sit for older residents and strengthening community engagement.  

  • District Heights: City of District Heights
    Grant funding will be used to improve an outdoor space with new amenities to promote community engagement for all ages.

  • Severna Park: Olde Severna Park Improvement Association
    Funding from this grant will be used to install new pedestrian controlled crosswalk warning systems and intersections, making the area safer for pedestrians of all ages. Photo Album


  • Brockton: Old Colony YMCA
    The East Bridgewater community will better connect its residents with local trails by installing wayfinding signage, ADA-compliant benches and accessible pathways along the Hiking Viking Trail.
  • Springfield: Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
    This grant will be used to pilot bench installations around bus stops to enable better travel experiences for seniors and disabled individuals who use public transit.

  • Westford: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell
    This grant will serve older adults by being used to purchase tools and supplies in order to deliver critical home repairs to low-income homeowners.


  • Detroit: Eden Gardens Block Club
    This grant will help create a multigenerational community-built playground in an area currently without any safe, nearby play resources.

  • Flint: Carriage Town Neighborhood Association
    With the help of the city, a university and a foundation, a Flint neighborhood will renovate a park by installing lights and a footbridge that connects residents to the downtown area.

  • Rochester Hills: City of Rochester Hills
    Grant funds will provide for an intergenerational outdoor exercise space to include equipment, a water fountain and benches.


  • Burnsville: City of Burnsville
    This grant will help to install vibrant crosswalks and pedestrian safety measures at an intersection identified by the community as needing improvements.

  • Minneapolis: Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
    This grant will provide support to deliver a mobile workshop in eight communities across Minnesota designed to help community leaders make their neighborhoods more accessible and bikeable.

  • New Ulm: Downtown Action Team/Minnesota Main Street
    This grant will enable the installation of two benches — each featuring historical information — and a table to foster connectivity and social interaction in the historic downtownand add stops to a self-guided walking tour of the area.

  • Saint Paul: District 1 Community Council
    Funding will be used to beautify recently installed traffic circles with gardens to accompany pedestrian and bicycle improvements.


  • Gulfport: City of Gulfport, Economic Development Department
    Funding will be used to create an outdoor interactive classroom with nature trails, educational play structures and a small amphitheater in a new park located in a low-income area that was struck by Hurricane Katrina. 

  • Jackson: City of Jackson
    Grant money will be used to install pedestrian-oriented infrastructure, such as seating, bike storage, planters and more to make the area safer and better connect a three block area in the downtown.


  • Kansas City: BetterBlockKC 
    As part of the city's broader Complete Streets efforts, this grant will fund the installation of an enhanced crosswalk, parking, protected bike lanes and floating bus stops to promote safety and more pedestrian activity along Oak Street. Video

  • Raymore: City of Raymore
    Through this grant, a new paved and stamped crosswalk will be added on Municipal Circle to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, and increase connectivity between nearby civic buildings.


  • Browning: Blackfeet Eagle Shield Center
    This grant will provide for fencing, trees, flowers and canopy swings in order to create an outdoor space that can facilitate story-telling and socializing on Blackfeet Native American tribal land.

  • Helena: Bike Walk Montana
    This grant will fund a transportable demonstration kit to educate people about bicycle lanes, parklets, roundabouts, crosswalks and other transportation safety initiatives.

  • Missoula: Missoula Parks & Recreation
    Grant funds will be used to improve public health in the city by supporting the Rx Trails Program with new signage, mile markers, benches and maps. 


  • Omaha: City of Omaha
    Grant funding will transform a vacant lot into an attractive intergenerational outdoor space with the addition of park benches, garden planters and an interactive chalkboard wall. Video

  • Omaha: One Omaha
    The grant will support intergenerational project demonstrations during the Omaha NeighborFest including neighborhood tours, walk audits, live music and other programing chosen by neighborhood associations.  


New Hampshire

  • Manchester: Manchester Connects
    This grant will help create a riverside gathering space in Arms Park by installing tables and planters and better connecting the area to walkable and bikeable pathways. Video

New Jersey

  • Bloomfield: Department of Health and Human Services
    Grant funding will expand the WALK Bloomfield walking program through the purchase of JobClocks, a technology for establishing walking paths.

  • Somerset: Healthier Somerset/Somerset Health Care Foundation
    This grant will enable the installation of a parklet to add a downtown green space and place for socializing.

New Mexico

  • Albuquerque: South Valley MainStreet 
    This grant will help a grassroots organization revitalize historic Bridge and Isleta boulevards and improve the La Familia Growers Market by installing tables, chairs and a storage shed as well as by purchasing materials for intergenerational activities. Photo Album

New York

  • Bronx: BronxWorks
    Grant funds will be used to create a gardening space for schoolchildren and older adults who use a senior center at the Morris Avenue Community Garden.

  • Binghamton: Center for Technology & Innovation
    The funded project will enliven the Chenango River Trail by installing a 48-foot mural depicting a topographical map of Central New York. 

  • Castleton-on-Hudson: Village of Castleton-on-Hudson
    The grant will be used to acquire an outdoor bulletin board and benches for placement in an underutilized but centrally located lot. 

  • Delmar: Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy
    The grant will enable the installation of artwork along the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, further encouraging community members to walk between installations, enjoy nature and be phsyically active. Photo Album
  • Dryden: Town of Dryden
    Grant funds will finance comfortable benches and information kiosks along a public trail to encourage outdoor exercise for residents of all ages.

North Carolina

  • Charlotte: City of Charlotte
    The grant will fund the installation of two free-standing artistic swings adjacent to public transit sites in order to foster fun and social interactions. Video

  • Durham: Habitat for Humanity of Durham
    The Durham Habitat Repairs Program will purchase a mobile repair truck in order to expand its services and ability to perform home repair and maintenance tasks for older and low-income residents. 

  • Statesville: United Way of Iredell County 
    The East Iredell Lions Club Community will create a quarter-mile walking trail, the first ADA-accessible walking trail in the community.

North Dakota

  • Buxton: Buxton Park Board
    The grant will help finance the installation of playground equipment, including soft-landing material, in a community park.  

  • Grand Forks: City of Grand Forks
    The grant will provide for a pop-up demonstration about street safety and enhancement features such as curb extensions, parklets and more.

  • Hettinger: Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce
    The grant will support a more vibrant Main Street and attractive outdoor space through the installation of outdoor board games and other outdoor activities in the community plaza.


  • Cleveland: Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
    By helping upgrade the Riverview Tower outdoor community space with accessible garden beds, seating and therapeutic plantings, the grant will enable older residents to spend time outdoors. Photo Album

  • Cleveland: Bike Cleveland
    This grant will enable Silver Spokes, a cycling program for seniors, to purchase five bicycles for adults of various abilities. 

  • Findlay: City of Findlay
    The grant will support the addition of amenities such as windscreens, seating and more to the city's popular pickleball courts. Video


  • Vinita: City of Vinita
    The grant will fund tables, benches, planters, lighting, signage and art displays as part of a new public gathering space. 


  • Hood River: City of Hood River
    Grant funds will enable Streets Alive! Hood River to pilot an open streets program, in which streets are closed off to cars and opened to pedestrians, enabling a host of public space exercise activities such as yoga and dance classes. 

  • Portland: Verde
    The grant supports Verde’s Mobile Home Repair Extravaganza by funding up to eight home repairs for older adults, families with children, and residents with disabilities. The home repairs completed with this grant will address critical health, safety and livability issues impacting low-income residents. 

  • Prineville: Crook County on the Move
    The grant will provide for the installation of four age-friendly benches along a bicycle and pedestrian pathway.


  • Philadelphia: SEAMAAC
    The grant will be used to purchase cafe-style furniture and equipment for SEAMAC’s Elder’s Story Cafe, where older adults tell and younger people listen to stories about the past. Video

  • Pittsburgh: Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging 
    The grant will fund a temporary, community-driven art installation at the Beechview Healthy Living Center, opening a public space in a senior center for people of all ages. 

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

  • East Providence: City of East Providence
    The grant will fund the installation of park benches and game tables, and replace the tops and benches of existing picnic tables in the Central Avenue Park.  

  • Providence: Rhode Island College Foundation
    This grant will be used to educate community residents on how to install smartphone applications and use ride-sourcing services. 

South Carolina

  • Charleston: Charleston Moves
    The grant will be used to create two artistic crosswalk murals as well as improvements to local intersections, providing safer pedestrian access to the neighborhood. Video and Photo Album

  • Greenville: City of Greenville, Parks & Recreation 
    The grant will fund the installation of new park amenities including a park shelter, ADA-accessible game tables, horseshoe pit and entrance ramp.    

South Dakota

  • Sioux Falls: Sioux Falls Health Department
    The grant will be used to improve transportation options and the accessibility of the Sioux Falls Bike Trail by installing benches and maintenance stations for bicycles and wheelchairs. 

  • Vermillion: City of Vermillion
    The grant will help enhance a community park with the purchase of a cornhole game, renovations to the horseshoe pit and the installation of ADA-accessible sidewalks.


  • Memphis: City of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods
    The grant will be used to promote physical activity and overall accessibility to the Josephine K. Lewis Senior Center by repairing 1,500-square-feet of sidewalk, installing six wayfinding and health information signs and a rest area along the nearby Walk-'n-Wheel trail. Video


  • Dallas: buildingcommunityWORKSHOP
    The grant will enable the installation of enhancements to public walkways, such as increased pedestrian accessibility for people with mobility impairments.

  • Elsa: City of Elsa Economic Development Corporation
    The grant will be used to install four bus shelters along a one-mile stretch of State Highway 107, increasing the availability of local public transit options. 


  • Ogden: Habitat for Humanity of Weber and Davis Counties
    The grant will support improvement and maintenance work at the homes of low-income older adults, veterans and families through the Jefferson Park Revitalization Program.

  • Salt Lake City: Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services
    The grant will initiate the creation of a community garden at the Taylorsville Senior Center by installing four raised-bed planters and purchasing gardening equipment that can be easily used by older adults. 


  • Bethel: Town of Bethel Recreation Department
    The grant will enable the construction of a pathway connecting a school to recreational trails, enabling residents to more easily access outdoor social and physical activities. 

  • Swanton: Village of Swanton
    The grant will help create a demonstration project of traffic calming features, including an island of raised flower beds, the installation of trees and shrubs, and the renovation of a crosswalk. 

  • West Rutland: Town of West Rutland
    The grant will allow for the creation of pedestrian walkway to the West Rutland Recreation Area, providing access to the Clarendon River and forest for all residents.


  • Richmond: Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition
    The grant will provide for the installation of 50 self-watering garden boxes at the Green Park and Highland Park apartments as well as for intergenerational gardening programs.

  • Roanoke: Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization
    The grant will help enhance an existing community garden by installing four raised-bed planters, two permanent benches, a picnic table and a seasonal portable toilet facility.

  • Woodbridge: Keep Prince William Beautiful
    The grant will allow for the construction of an aesthetically-pleasing vegetable gardening area on the grounds of a senior center. The produce will be used to support the local Meals on Wheels program. 


  • Port Orchard: Kitsap County Board of Commissioner
    Grant funds will be used to create a clean and sanitary space for food storage, meal preparation and dining. 

  • Seattle: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
    The grant will support traffic calming measures through the installation of planter boxes, artistic crosswalks, wayfinding signs and other placemaking amenities chosen by community members during outreach efforts at neighborhood potluck dinners. 

West Virginia

  • Hamlin: Lincoln County Friends of the Arts
    The grant will help improve transportation mobility by funding the creation of artistic crosswalks in areas served by the regional bus service. 

  • Morgantown: City of Morgantown
    The grant will be used to enhance public spaces by purchasing and placing benches throughout the historic district so people can sit, relax and socialize.


  • Asland: City of Ashland
    The grant will fund the purchase and installation of Bike Fixation stations throughout the 11-mile Ashland Rails-to-Trails network ensuring that all cyclists, regardless of income, age and ability, can access the tools necessary for bicycle upkeep.

  • La Crosse: La Crosse Area Family YMCA
    The grant will support the creation and installation of colorful benches at the YMCA Community Food Forest.

  • Sheboygan: City of Sheboygan
    The grant will fund the purchase and installation of Bike Fixation Stations in the city's most heavily-cycled areas.


  • Laramie: Action Resources International: Feeding Laramie Valley
    The grant will fund a new fully-accessible community garden to increase access to healthy food, provide multi-generational learning opportunities, and support a culture of health for people living with mobility and disability challenges.

  • Rock Springs: Wyoming Rock Springs Renewal Fund
    The grant will fund a mural depicting the hard work and sacrifices of local miners and railroad workers. The artwork will contribute to a vibrant public space and foster respect for the community's history. Photo Album

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