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AARP Community Challenge and COVID-19

The global coronavirus pandemic erupted soon after the launch of the 2020 challenge, making quick-action, virus-responsive projects a serious and urgent need

This list of 25 AARP Community Challenge grantees is specific to the projects that were identified by applicants as being a community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A Challenging Crisis

COVID-19 has been a challenge for all winning applicants.

Due to social distancing needs, the projects relate to efforts that can "virtually engage" residents, provide access to food and services, and support local businesses and economies. 

The list below is organized by state and location, followed by the name of the grantee organization and a brief project description. Grantees expect to complete their projects by December 18, 2020.


  • Tucson: Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance
    The grant will support a community-wide Arts Care Package Campaign to provide assisted living communities and hospital patients with an array of creative experiences, including music, craft kits, journaling and DIY art projects.


  • Hayfork: Friends of the Hayfork Park
    Funds will be used to improve the park and public pool during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic by installing safety and hygiene measures for people using the pool and attending a farmers' market.


  • Estes Park: Estes Valley Community Garden
    This grant will support the community's response to the coronavirus pandemic by making improvements to a community garden and installing hand sanitizing stations.


  • Wilmington: Delaware Children's Museum 
    The grantee will help develop a specialized online curriculum to connect grandparents and grandchildren through remote activities in the week leading up to Grandparents Day. Funds will also be used to create and deliver "You’re Grand” activity bags to encourage continued interactive activities.

District of Columbia

  • Washington: Iona Senior Services
    The grant will support virtual outreach to older adults who are living alone during the coronavirus pandemic and result in the creation of a discussion guide that can be used or adapted by other organizations.


  • Hawaii: Hawaii Afterschool Alliance
    This grant will help develop intergenerational connections between vulnerable older adults and students across the state through regularly-scheduled, virtual check-ins.


  • Springfield: Downtown Springfield
    The funding will be used to sustain access to fresh, healthy foods by making coronavirus-related safety improvements to the Old Capitol Farms Market.



  • Hagerstown: Washington County Commission on Aging
    The grant will help the county develop a mobile program that connects isolated community members with staff who can provide services and resources. 


  • Roxbury and North Dorchester: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
    Dynamic virtual spaces for intergenerational dialogue will enable residents to connect online in order to address community issues, attend workshops and join support groups.   


  • East Lansing: Michigan State University (MSU)/AgeAlive
    A remotely conducted Senior Ambassador and Lifelong Learning Program will be developed and piloted. Data collection will focus on the impact of virtual social programs on social isolation, loneliness and quality of life in older adults. 

New Jersey

  • Flemington Borough: Harvest Family Success Center
    Funds will be used to provide free produce at a seniors-only market day, create a library of health and wellness books, and enable weekly check-ins with older adults who may be isolated.
  • Metuchen: Metuchen Downtown Alliance
    To help support the recovery of downtown businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures, project funding will be used to install parklets and other interventions that repurpose sidewalks, streets, parking lots and alleys so dining and other public activities can occur at safe social distances.

New York

  • Dutchess County: United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region
    The grant will strengthen intergenerational relationships by creating ways for older adults and youth to safely connect during the global coronavirus pandemic.

North Carolina

  • Charlotte: North End Community Coalition
    To bridge the digital divide and fight social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis, a Wi-Fi hotspot lending program will allow residents to borrow a device for up to three weeks at a time.

  • Chatham County: Bynum Front Porch 
    The grant will help livestream the community’s monthly storytelling workshops expand the reach to older adults, former residents, military families and others unable to gather in person due to distances or the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Fairview: Fairview Regional Medical Center Authority
    Funding will be put toward providing remote monitoring cardiac rehabilitation for people who’ve had recent cardiac events and are of a low- to moderate-risk of experiencing complications while recuperating at home.


  • Portland: Asian Health and Service Center
    Funding will be used to expand the work of a successful response team that provides culturally specific, urgently needed support for older adults who face language and cultural barriers that increase isolation and loneliness. 


  • Philadelphia: Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
    The project will create a free, no-contact to-go meal service so clients can be safely  served during the coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolina

  • Greenville County: Mill Community Ministries
    The project will help combat food insecurity by expanding the capacity to distribute healthy, affordable food to vulnerable older residents.



  • Salt Lake County: University of Utah Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic
    In order to improve social connections among residents of assisted living and nursing home facilities during the COVID-19 crisis, the funded project will pilot Conversation Cafes that provide a weekly virtual gathering place for residents and their families. The funds will also support the installation of high-speed internet service where none exists, the installation of Wi-Fi boosters where there are weak or intermittent signals, and platform-specific training for staff.


  • Washing, Orange and Lamoille Counties: Central Vermont Council on Aging
    The grant funding will be used to help combat the social isolation of older adults during the coronavirus pandemic by providing homebound residents with creative art kits and visits by volunteers. The effort will feature an online art show displaying residents’ artistic creations.


  • Fairfax County: CFH, Inc
    The grant will provide residents of independent senior housing with a “telehealth kit” that contains a wrist-based blood pressure unit and digital thermometer so they can share their health vital signs with medical providers during telehealth visits. 


  • King County: International Community Health Services
    Culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach materials will be created to help patients learn how to stay connected to their health care providers through patient portals, telehealth and online classes.

  • Thurston County: Garden Raised Bounty
    To increase food security, well-being and long-term resiliency during the COVID-19 crisis, gardens will be installed in neighborhoods for households at risk of food insecurity.

AARP Community Challenge Resources

AARP Community Challenge Home Page: Visit

The Grantees List: Look up the Challenge Winners by State or Year

Articles: Visit the AARP Community Challenge Impact Stories

Questions: Contact us by emailing

Learn When to Apply: Subscribe to the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter

Page published August 20, 2020

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