For the fourth annual AARP Community Challenge, AARP received more than 2,800 applications from nonprofits and government entities, resulting in a highly competitive selection process. A total of more than $2.4 million is being distributed to fund 184 quick-action projects across the country, helping urban, rural and suburban communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages.
And the Winners Are ...
This list of AARP Community Challenge grantees is organized by state and location, followed by the name of the grantee organization and a brief project description.
The projects were completed by the end of 2020.
In response to extraordinary community needs this year, AARP is investing additional funding to support projects in a range of diverse communities benefitting people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities, and projects that support local governments and organizations as they respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We developed the AARP Community Challenge grant program in response to mayors, local leaders and residents who asked for help building momentum for more livable communities nationwide. This year, both coronavirus response and projects that aid diverse communities are acute needs,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “Many of our earlier grants have led to permanent changes, and the program continues to evolve. We are proud that this year AARP will fund 24 coronavirus response and recovery projects that support immediate local needs.”
The winning projects are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding and access to a wider range of transportation choices.
- Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
- Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
- Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services and civic life. (These projects are present within the collection below as well as in a separate list.)
- Other improvements based on the most important needs in a community and the best quick-action solutions for addressing them.
- Birmingham: Bush Hills Connections
Grant funds will help expand a community garden by providing seating, a covered area to rest, bathrooms, classrooms and sanitation stations.
- Mobile: Senior Citizens Services/Via Health, Fitness and Enrichment Center)
Part of the Midtown Meets! Community Rest Stop, the grant will create a public, community green space to increase opportunities for interactions between residents.
- Montevallo: City of Montevallo
This project will install exercise equipment for all ages at Orr Park and George Dailey Park so underserved residents can build healthy habits and reduce their risk for chronic diseases.
- Moulton: Moulton Lions Club
Funds will be used to revitalize the city’s downtown by bringing art and color into the area with themed crosswalks, parklets and public murals.
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough: United Way of Mat-Su
This project will work with older residents and local artists to design and create an art and cultural trail reflective of the community's history.
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough: Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation
To increase access to the outdoors, an ADA accessible scenic overlook platform at Setteler Bay Coast Park will allow visitors of all abilities views of this coastal park.
- Palmer: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Cooperative Extension
This project will create an area for growing fresh food and demonstrate how to build a garden that can be used by people of ages and abilities.
- Phoenix: Diocesan Council for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocese Phoenix
This project will install raised garden beds, seating and shade trees at a community garden and launch new programming in the space.
- South Tucson: Primavera Foundation
Funds will be used to improve the La Capilla Neighborhood's community garden by building a raised garden bed, purchasing adaptive tools and making the space more accessible and walkable.
- 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.
- Hot Springs: City of Hot Springs
This grant will support a new Musical History Mural in the historic Malvern Avenue neighborhood to ensure that young people and new residents understand the rich heritage of the city's African American community.
- Malvern: The Malvern-Hot Spring County Library
The funds will be used to improve pedestrian access and safety with a highly visible crosswalk, story trail and pollinator garden near the library.
- Stamps: City of Stamps
The project will support accessibility upgrades to facilities at the Maya Angelou City Park.
- El Cajon: Circulate San Diego
The grant will create educational resources for older adults, particularly the community's large Iraqi refugee population, to help them become more comfortable using public transit and lay the foundation for future transit use.
- 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.
- Los Angeles: Echo Park Film Center
This project will bring older and younger adults together to share experiences and stories for a film project that will be shared in outdoor settings.
- Los Angeles: Los Angeles River State Park Partners
As part of a new Chinatown Health Initiative, the grant will create a culturally responsive and inclusive green space to help bridge the gap between the services, programs and park accommodations needed by older adults.
- San Leandro: City of San Leandro
Funds will be used to host a design charrette to engage students, residents, older adults and community groups in the creation of an ADA-compliant public space for gardening, education and exploring the San Leandro Creek ecosystem.
- Seaside: United Way Monterey County
The project will add two affordable, accessible housing units and — through workshops, digital resources and the sharing of prototype plans — encourage the development of accessory dwelling units.
- Aurora: Elevation Community Land Trust
The grant will support the location of four cottage-sized, resource-efficient solar homes on two vacant lots to demonstrate a new option for expanding the homeownership opportunities within existing single-family zoned neighborhoods.
- 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.
- Grand Junction: Grand Junction Parks and Recreation
This project will install an outdoor fitness circuit around an existing mile-long path encircling Sherwood Park.
- Lakewood: City of Lakewood
The grant will engage volunteers to install a series of innovative art projects, including a ground mural and help connect older adults to transit, parks, shopping and dining.
- Hartford: Pope Hartford Designated Fund, Inc. (no website)
This project will improve the accessibility of a new community garden for older adults and people of all abilities in Pope Park and expand the site.
- Stamford: Fairgate Farm
This grant will extend an existing ADA-compliant walkway and install paths, benches, tables, bike racks and raised planting beds at an urban garden and community gathering space.
- West Hartford: Town of West Hartford
To increase safety for walkers of all ages, new pedestrian-activated crosswalk warning lights will be installed at highly trafficked intersections.
- New Castle County: Latin American Community Center
The grant will develop and implement virtual outreach efforts to the Latino community and include “Know Your Rights” sessions to help ensure that Delaware’s Latino community is receiving essential information throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
- Wilmington: Cornerstone West CDC
The 4th Street Community Mural Project will bring residents together to complete a mural on a building adjacent to a park and help collect feedback for future neighborhood investments and improvements.
- 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: 1882 Foundation
The funded project will create a continuously updated, interactive platform to capture the views of low-income residents in Chinatown and help inform planning policies and redevelopment based on community priorities.
- 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.
- Fort Pierce: City of Fort Pierce Police Department
Funds will be used to improve a donated home embedded within the Housing Authority with improvements including painting, the addition of computers for residents to use and more.
- Gainesville: City of Gainesville
The city’s Online Civic Hackathon will bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to codesign a more livable city using human-centered design ideation strategies, new technologies and Gainesville’s open data portal.
- Lake Placid: Highway Park Neighborhood Preservation and Enhancement District
This project will install a first of its kind in the community10-Stop Fitness Trail in the MLK Jr. Sports Field in Highway Park.
- Orange County: Curry Ford West
Using recycled materials, local artists will create a pop-up park in the form of a labyrinth, specifically designed to help promote physical distancing.
- Sunrise: City of Sunrise
The grant will support the installation of bike repair stations, artistic bike racks and vibrant sidewalk art.
- Tallahassee: Goodwood Museum and Gardens
This grant will revitalize a historic roller rink from 1916 for outdoor activities with a new ADA-accessible sidewalk, lighting, murals and game boards that promote physical activity at a safe social distance.
- Atlanta Metro: Lifecycle Building Center
Using 90 percent reclaimed materials, the building center will construct 10 accessible garden beds and seven Little Free Pantries to support older adults in largely refugee and marginalized communities experiencing food insecurity.
- Augusta: The Jessye Norman School of The Arts
This project will create vendor stalls for artists and sellers providing locally grown fresh foods.
- Macon: Bike Walk Macon
To improve the connectivity, bikeability and walkability of three high-traffic, residential corridors, Bike Walk Macon will engage residents of all ages to select, design and install at least three permanent traffic-calming features.
- Monroe: City of Monroe
This grant will activate a new public space through the installation of planters, seating and outdoor games.
- Ewa: Blue Zones Project — Kapolei and 'Ewa
The grant funds will be used to increase pedestrian safety by adding curb extensions that will, as an added benefit, feature artwork about the history of the 'Ewa community.
- 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.
- Waianae: Making Dreams Come True, Valley of Rainbows
This project will beautify city and state-owned traffic utility light boxes along Farrington Highway, a stretch of 11.5 miles, with art contributed by local artists.
- Cascade: City of Cascade
This project includes paving a half-mile walking trail, creating year-round opportunities for outdoor exercise and nature viewing.
- Glenns Ferry: City of Glenns Ferry
This grant will activate a new public space with swings, a picnic table, a shade structure and the supplies needed to assist in park construction.
- West Gooding: Gooding Public Library Foundation
Grant funds will be used to create an accessible outdoor commons area with seating and shade coverings.
- Chicago: El Paseo Community Garden
The project, called "El Convivio," will add an ADA-compliant planting station, outdoor kitchen area, accessible seating and a walking path and seating at a community garden.
- Chicago: North Lawndale Employment Network
Funds will be used to bridge the digital divide by providing free community Wi-Fi and online connectivity for residents living within a 1.5-mile radius of the network's workforce campus.
- Evanston: City of Evanston
The grant will be used to create a guide to educate homeowners about accessory dwelling units and how to add one to their property.
- 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.
- Center Township: Edna Martin Christian Center
Funds will be used to create an urban gardening space that will provide food access, recreation and income opportunities for older adults.
- Gary: Legacy Foundation
The grant will support safe cycling and improve connectivity between downtown venues and outdoor recreation options by adding bike lanes and directional signage to a central thoroughfare.
- Indianapolis and Columbus: Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana
Grant funds will be used to purchase shopping carts so food-insecure older adults participating in "Senior Shopping Days" can transport their groceries from the pantry site to their vehicles without having to carry heavy or hard to maneuver bags and packages.
- Muncie: Sustainable Muncie Corporation
In order to connect residents to the digital world in a comfortable and inviting environment, public internet access will be provided to areas inside and outside of a popular community center.
- Afton: City of Afton
The grant will be used to develop a portable parklet that can be moved to support social events (such as parades and “Lawn Chair Night” gatherings) at locations throughout the city.
- Des Moines: Home Opportunities Made Easy
Funding will be put toward the construction of accessory dwelling unit demonstration in order to introduce ADUs as a housing alternative for the area and way to increase housing options.
- Coffeyville: Coffeyville's Reawakening Neighborhood Initiative
By repairing the porches of four neglected dwellings — and finishing them with attractive safety railings and steps, porch swings, plants, birdhouses and more — this "Porchology" project seeks to will impact the way residents think about using their porches to improve their lives, homes and neighborhoods.
- Lawrence: United Way of Douglas County
The grant will enhance the usability of a successful public bus system for disabled and elderly residents by installing culturally-relevant and artistic bus stop shelters and benches.
- Harrodsburg: Campbellsville University Harrodsburg Conover Education Center
To beautify one of Kentucky's oldest streets, long-lasting concrete planters will be installed, trees will be planted, and signs will be added. All will be maintained by resident volunteers or local organizations.
- Louisville: Center For Neighborhoods
The grant will support ongoing efforts to create a safer, more inviting main street area by implementing plans created by local stakeholders, including the installation of permanent lighting, pedestrian pathways, an intergenerational mural, planter boxes, signage and more.
- Louisville: ElderServe
To provide a safe and comfortable space for older residents who are waiting for transportation, an attractive and functional bus stop shelter will be installed near a popular senior center.
- Shreveport: Shreveport Common
Grant funds will be used to add ADA-compliant outdoor tables to the Art Bosque Food Truck Court within the Shreveport Common public art and green space location.
- Augusta, Bangor and Westbrook: Bicycle Coalition of Maine
In pursuit of permanent pedestrian safety enhancements, demonstration projects in three communities will show the benefits of increasing crosswalk visibility, shortening crossings and calming traffic.
- Town of Dexter: Town of Dexter Age-Friendly Community Committee
Funding will be used to make improvements and add seating at Wayside Park as well as to support “Pop-Up Universities” that provide older adults with meaningful activities.
- Eliot: Eliot Aging in Place Committee
Five new benches will be installed in a park along the Piscataqua River.
- Fryeburg: Fryeburg Age-Friendly Community Taskforce
The community will create a recreation trail designed to be easily walkable by older adults and those with mobility challenges. The path will ultimately be a one-mile loop trail that features a pedestrian bridge, benches and signage for people of all ages to enjoy.
- Hallowell: Vision Hallowell
The purchase and installation of a 24-foot-long aluminum ramp will provide a safe and convenient way for older adults, people with mobility challenges and anyone pushing a baby strollers to access the city’s busy waterfront bulkhead.
- Liberty: Citizens' Association of Liberty Lakes
Project funds will be used to add picnic tables, benches, new steps and handrails to a pair of public swimming areas.
- Limestone: Limestone Development Foundation/Age Friendly Limestone
Improvements to a walk-bike trail will benefit residents by enabling them to better participate in outdoor fitness and socializing activities.
- Millinocket: Town of Millinocket
The project will enhance walking and bicycling safety by adding calming measures in high traffic areas near essential services and recreational spaces.
- Baltimore: Bon Secours Community Works
Funds will be used to purchase and install materials for a memorial park that’s being created by residents to honor the first female firefighter in Maryland to be killed in the line of duty.
- 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.
- Hyattsville: University of Maryland School of Public Health Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health Lab
The project will increase digital literacy, knowledge of and access to local services by creating a smartphone app and teaching residents to use it for reporting community resource gaps to local policymakers.
- Beverly: Beverly Main Streets
Raised garden beds will be installed and planted with flowers and vegetables at the homes of 50 older residents. Each will be matched with a local family that will visit and assist with the gardening.
- Greenfield: City of Greenfield
A parking lot will be transformed into a park and community gathering spot in the center of the downtown area. Plans calls for the creation of a rain garden, the addition of a new bench at an existing bus stop, an outdoor chess table with chairs, and a bicycle pump and repair station.
- 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
An online senior ambassador and lifelong learning program will be developed and piloted to assess the impact of virtual social programs on social isolation, loneliness and the quality of life of older adults.
- Grand Rapids: North End Wellness Coalition (partnered with Access of West Michigan)
By adding five ADA-approved benches along a business corridor, residents with mobility challenges will be able to access a city pathway.
- Falcon Heights: Philando Castile Peace Garden Committee
The project will provide for the groundbreaking, soil testing and a foundational level of plantings and pathway creation for a new public space and peace garden that is being created in memory of area resident Philando Castile.
- Luverne: Project Food Forest
Improvements will be made to the Prairie Ally Outdoor Center by adding three commissioned sculptural trellises and two circular picnic tables.
- St. Paul: District 6 Planning Council
Artistic benches will be installed so visitors to the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary can comfortably sit and spend time outdoors.
- St. Paul: East Side Freedom Library
A diverse collection of people will be engaged to help improve housing in the community and learn how to address the policies, economics and systems responsible for what has become a local housing crisis.
- Greenville: Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church
A community garden that supplies fresh produce to low- and moderate-income families will receive new fencing and hoop house-style greenhouses so produce can be grown year-round.
- Jackson: Mississippi Faith Based Coalition and Community Renewal
Overgrown vacant lots will be turned into community gardens, walking parks will be accessorized with benches and public art, and residents will be provided with paint and pressure washing services to restore the beauty of their older homes.
- Kansas City: Blue Hills Neighborhood Association
Four commercial-grade dusk-to-dawn solar lights will illuminate an ADA-compliant park path to enhance safety, walkability and accessibility.
- Kansas City: Marlborough Community Coalition
A two-mile-long sidewalk will be enhanced with benches and bicycle to meet community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional project activities will provide residents with free programs, toiletries and fresh food.
- St. Louis: STL Village
A garden will be restored to serve as a gathering place and provide residents with opportunities to volunteer by repairing and painting garden beds, adding a bicycle rack, a pergola, art, benches and new trees and plants.
- Warrensburg: Warrensburg Main Street
A downtown alley will be activated and improved by volunteers who will install lighting, seating, flowers and planters, public art and enhanced safety features.
- Bozeman: Human Resource Development Council of District IX
New and existing public transportation routes will be showcased for the community through a pop-up project that will install temporary fixtures at bus stop locations throughout the city so riders can visualize the added and adjusted transit routes.
- Cascade: Town of Cascade
An ADA-compliant picnic and walled sitting area tables, flower planters and a flag pole will be created for all generations and abilities to enjoy.
- Missoula: City of Missoula-Missoula Transportation Planning
This project will help create an accessible public gathering space with parklets, seating, art, bike parking and curb extensions along with temporary safety installations at busy intersections.
- Three Forks: Headwaters Trail System
A new loop trail with connections to existing infrastructure will be constructed to provide a walkable and bicycle-friendly way for people to enjoy the outdoors.
- Haigler: Haigler Community Foundation
Funds will be used to install an ADA-compliant restroom and handwashing station at the small town's museum.
- Hebron: City of Hebron
The installation of solar lighting along a popular walking trail will provide access to crucial community locations and extend the hours users can safely travel along the trail.
- Lincoln: NeighborWorks Lincoln
A community garden will be developed on a vacant lot in a neighborhood where residents will benefit from access to fresh food, a new green space and opportunities for physical activity.
- Carlin: Carlin Historical Society
Wayfinding signs near the interstate will increase the visibility of this historic town and its museum.
- Henderson: City of Henderson
The funded project will place murals on 12 concrete benches along a main pedestrian thoroughfare and in two busy pedestrian areas.
- Fremont: Town of Fremont
The construction of a ramp with railings will allow for safe and full accessibility to the Memorial Park ballfields, where many indoor events have been moved to so people can be outdoors and distanced according to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Wilton: Town of Wilton
ADA-compliant walkways will be added along the bank of Souhegan River to connect restaurants and a veteran's park to the downtown core.
- 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.
- Trenton: Trenton Health Team
The funded project will set the stage for a citywide conversation about expanded bicycling programs and cycling infrastructure by piloting a bike share program geared toward older adults.
- Dona Ana County: South Central Regional Transit District
Grant monies will be used to add benches, lighting and overhead protection to the area's bus stops.
- Dixon: Embudo Valley Library and Community Center
The grant will activate a park area on the grounds of a public library by installing two picnic tables and benches that will be created by community members.
- Las Cruces: Downtown Las Cruces Partnership
Funds will be used to provide safe bicycle storage and shade structures in the city’s arts and cultural district.
- Albany: Underground Railroad Education Center
The project will create an indoor urban garden with benches and lighting to provide a year-round space for intergenerational, educational experiences.
- Borough of the Bronx: Friends of Mosholu Parkland
Grant funds will be used to improve the Mosholu Parkland by adding green spaces that can be used for tai chi and meditation exercises in an existing garden that’s regularly used by older adults.
- Buffalo: LISC Western New York
The "Discover Your Neighborhood" project will create a map of cultural landmarks, natural areas, parks, transportation hubs, public art and other essential neighborhood anchors in three historically African American neighborhoods.
- Buffalo: Preservation Buffalo Niagara
The funded project will launch an Adopt-a-Block program to enhance the beautification and maintenance of street infrastructure and amenities including tree boxes and planters.
- 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.
- New York: New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine
As part of ongoing efforts to make Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood more livable, sensors have been installed to collect noise data. The funded project will host “sound walks” to capture additional data and support efforts to visually present the noise sensor data in a way that allows for public input and feedback.
- 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.
- Gastonia: Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services
Funds will be used to add benches, flower bed, and playful and educational sidewalk graphics.
- Williamston: Martin County Chamber of Commerce
The funded project will transform an empty lot into a vibrant public space with a covered stage, seating and raised garden beds.
- Bismarck: Bismarck Global Neighbors
To strengthen ties between residents and families who have recently arrived in the area, a series of "community conversation" meals will invite immigrant families to share their stories, in their own languages, with their new neighbors and local leaders.
- Max: City of Max
Grant funds will be used to purchase hanging flower baskets for downtown light poles and picnic tables for the community’s green spaces.
- Minot: Downtown Business and Professional Association
Project funds will be used to decorate the city’s downtown with wall murals created by local artists and community volunteers.
- Rolette County: Turtle Mountain Chippewa Pembina PowWow Committee (no website)
Fruit trees and native plants will be installed in a new garden on the PowWow grounds to beautify the area and provide food for tribal members.
- Cincinnati: City of Cincinnati Office of Aging and Accessibility
The grant will enable the city to create a mural that will help slow down traffic and improve pedestrian safety in the Clifton Heights neighborhood.
- Columbus: Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed
To improve walkability in the community surrounding an elementary school and housing complex, four stone barn-benches and 50 large canopy trees will be planted to provide needed shade and heat relief.
- Dayton: CityWide Neighborhood Development Corporation
Funding will support the creation of informational signage and a safe, welcoming and accessible entrance to a popular neighborhood park.
- Springfield: 1159 South Community Development Corporation
Grant monies will be used to transform vacant land into a community destination featuring swings, benches, grilling equipment, safety lighting and more.
- Toledo: Salem Lutheran Church
Funds will be used to install a bus shelter and provide an adjacent pocket park with new benches and seating.
- Enid: Main Street Enid
Traffic calming elements, including artistic crosswalks painted by local artists, will be deployed to improve the walkability and safety of the city’s downtown.
- 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.
- Grove: City of Grove
The grant will be used to install pedestrian-controlled crosswalk signals with flashing beacons to enhance public safety, improve the walkability of the downtown area and provide safer access to the local senior center.
- Tulsa: Indian Nations Council of Governments and Tulsa Bike Share
The project will implement a free food delivery service pilot that will make use of a bike share program to deliver grocery orders to homebound residents.
- Milton-Freewater: Milton-Freewater Downtown Alliance
The grant will be used to install a gathering place and activity plaza where people of all ages can be active and socialize while keeping a safe distance.
- 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.
- Portland: Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Metro HomeShare Program
To ensure that Oregonians can continue to be reached and assisted during the global coronavirus pandemic, new digital and remote outreach will be developed to maintain services for low-income homeowners and renters.
- Kennett Square: Kennett Square Revitalization Task Force
This project will add barriers, parklets, benches, and creative sidewalk markings to beautify State Street while allowing residents and visitors to safely social distance.
- Philadelphia: Mt. Airy CDC
The local entrepreneurial ecosystem will be expanded by creating a “Senior Entrepreneur” program that recruits and supports a cohort of older entrepreneurs to conceptualize, plan and implement the next steps in their business development journey.
- 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.
- State College: The Pennsylvania State University
This funded project will pilot virtual community engagement techniques during the coronavirus pandemic and help to develop a digital tool kit that other communities can utilize.
- Quarryville Borough: Borough of Quarryville
To forge intergenerational bonds and beautify an otherwise blank wall, a mural will be painted in a public park by older and younger residents.
- Ponce: City of Ponce
The grant will help improve the downtown center by improving a walkway that connects the main plaza with the community marketplace with awnings, benches and artistic interventions for visitors to enjoy.
- Central Falls: City of Central Falls
Funds will be used to install five much-needed shade structures at the popular Veterans Memorial Park and support programming for older adults.
- Berea: Greenville County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
The grant will be used to equip an outdoor space at a community center with swings, benches, gardens, shade structures, a walking path and a horseshoe pit.
- Columbia: City of Columbia
Funds will be put toward creating a furnished, temporary parklet that will allow for suitable social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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.
- Myrtle Beach: City of Myrtle Beach
Project funds will be used to enhance public safety for residents and visitors by wrapping utility boxes with vinyl signage featuring information about coronavirus-related sidewalk etiquette, a wayfinding map and tips for effective social distancing and safety during the pandemic.
- Summerton: Town of Summerton
To support the community’s expanding elderly population, the town will create the state's first "tiny house" project built with environmentally-friendly materials by community members from designs focused on the needs of older adults and people with disabilities.
- Custer: Custer Area Economic Development Committee — Recreation/Wellness Committee
The grantee’s project will improve access to fresh produce by installing raised garden beds that will be cared for by community members of all ages.
- Sioux Falls: City of Sioux Falls Health Department
Funds will be used to create protected bicycle lanes by using a quick-build infrastructure kit along an on-street bike route so it can be safely used by cyclists of all ages.
- Sisseton: Sisseton Arts Council
The grant will be used to create a Midway Green Space featuring two granite benches, a sculpture created by local artists and native grasses seeded by older volunteers.
- Webster: Day County Recycling Team & Conservation District
The funded project will improve recycling opportunities in the community by providing a recycling trailer that will be placed at a convenient location.
- Yankton: City of Yankton Department of Parks and Recreation
The grant will be used for the purchase and installation of benches, signage and interactive art in Westside Park.
- Chattanooga: City of Chattanooga — Department of Youth and Family Development
This grant will be used to create a support team that will teach and train older adults to use interactive technology in order stay connected to friends, family and services during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Clarksville: Mental Health America of the MidSouth
Funding will be used to expand the Dementia-Friendly Churches Project, which supports the needs of older adults and their caregivers by training church staff, volunteers and others about dementia and how to help people who are living with dementia.
- Jackson: City of Jackson
The grant will be used to improve the city’s transportation accessibility and communications by creating a smartphone app that provides real-time information about public buses.
- Austin: Walk Austin
The grant funding will enable the safer use of neighborhood streets for walking, bicycling and other activities during the coronavirus pandemic by ensuring that Austin’s Healthy Streets program is fully implemented and integrates the needs of residents who may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Dallas: Bike Friendly South Dallas
This grant project will expand the reach of the “Hub and Spoke” program by installing bike repair stations and conducting cycling outreach and programming.
- El Paso: Eco El Paso
To promote safe recreational spaces and increase opportunities for physical activity in the Thomas Manor neighborhood, shade trees, benches and wayfinding and educational signage will be added along the Playa Drain Trail.
- Houston: City of Houston Planning and Development Department
The grant will support the creation of a transportation-themed demonstration tool kit to show the benefits that come from the use of bike lanes, crosswalks, speed cushions and other traffic and mobility solutions. Video
- San Antonio: City of San Antonio — World Heritage Office
Funds will be used to enhance the World Heritage Trail by adding benches, sidewalks lighting and public art.
- Logan: Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection
The project will foster friendships by creating a "Neighbor Program" that will partner immigrant and refugee families with families that are native to the area.
- 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.
- Southern Utah Navajo Reservation: Adopt-A-Native-Elder
The grant funds will help Navajo elders age in place by providing them with access to food, medical supplies and firewood.
- Brattleboro: Downtown Brattleboro Alliance
The grant will be used to increase the safety, accessibility and appearance of a centrally located public parking garage that is used by area residents to access nearby services and businesses.
- Burlington: University of Vermont
To elevate the issues of community livability and its importance to coronavirus crisis recovery work, a Community News Service will be established to provide community-focused articles to understaffed local newspapers.
- Randolph: Sunrise Rotary Club of Randolph
The grant will provide for the installation of outdoor musical instruments, benches and signage at the town's playground and recreation field.
- 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.
- Washington County — Mad River Valley: Yestermorrow Design Build School
"The Snail," an iconic but unused bus stop structure will be restored and relocated for use in a highly used transit location.
- St. Thomas: VI Council on the Arts
The grant will be used to expand the reach of a popular mural art initiative and feature the work of older artists.
- 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.
- Grayson County Courthouse: Grayson County VA Government
The grant will enhance and continue the operation of a volunteer-operated telephone helpline that was created to provide rural residents with access to reliable information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Richmond: Sports Backers
Project funding will be used to install murals and corner improvements at two intersections in order to slow traffic and improve walkability and bikeability to key community assets.
- Warrenton: Town of Warrenton
The grant will be used to enhance a beloved neighborhood park and gateway into the city's Old Town by working with community members to design and create a contemplative garden.
- 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.
- Puyallup: Puyallup Main Street Association in partnership with Puyallup Area Aging in Community Committee
The city will use the grant funds to create an "Elder-Friendly Business" program that designates area businesses as age-friendly based on criteria including customer service, access and discounts.
- Spokane: Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners
Signage, placards and related equipment will be installed to enhance public safety for a volunteer driver program that provides transportation services to vulnerable populations.
- 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.
- Charleston: City of Charleston
To ensure that an existing dog park is usable for residents of all ages, grant funds will be used to provide seating, shade amenities and separate play areas for dogs of different sizes.
- Ronceverte: Main Street Ronceverte
To assist the city's aging population and provide an outdoor communal space for social distancing, funding will be used to create a pocket park with a shade canopy, accessible tables and benches, raised flower beds and safe walkways.
- Cuba City: City of Cuba City
As part of the city's plan to create a community gathering place for residents of all ages, the funded project will enhance an existing plaza with the installation of outdoor games, benches, planters, a Wi-Fi hotspot and new green spaces.
- Milwaukee: City of Milwaukee — MKE Parks
An reconstructed neighborhood park will be enhanced to bridge the generational gap by using the grant funds to install, among other features, tables with built-in game boards, seating and a neighborhood information kiosk.
- Milwaukee: Historic King Drive Business Improvement District #8
To increase opportunities for cross-generational social interactions, funds will be used to enhance an outdoor gathering space with covered stage, solar lighting and ADA-compliant seating.
- Spooner: Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity
Funds will be used to create a tool lending library so homeowners and renters with limited resources can borrow needed equipment for maintaining their homes.
- Cokeville: Cokeville Senior Citizens Center
The grant will be used to improve the walkability and accessibility to a senior center and public park by adding ADA-accessible walkways, ramps and public restrooms.
- Jackson: Jackson Hole Land Trust
Benches designed and constructed by local artists will be installed in a green space in the city’s downtown.
AARP Community Challenge Resources
AARP Community Challenge Home Page: Visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge
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 CommunityChallenge@AARP.org
Learn When to Apply: Subscribe to the AARP Livable Communities Newsletter
Page published August 20, 2020
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