For the fifth annual AARP Community Challenge, AARP received more than 3,500 applications from nonprofits and government entities, resulting in a highly competitive selection process.
And the Winners Are ...
The list of AARP Community Challenge grantees (below) is organized by state and location, followed by the name of the grantee organization and a brief project description.
The projects need to be completed by November 10, 2021.
We expect the next AARP Community Challenge application window to be opened in February 2022. Be among the first to learn the launch date by subscribing to the free, weekly AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter.
Nearly $3.2 million is being distributed to fund 244 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.
AARP Community Challenge grants will be funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grants will help improve public spaces, transportation, housing and civic engagement with an emphasis on the needs of people 50 or older. Many of this year’s grants support revitalizing communities adversely impacted by the pandemic and include a focus on diversity, inclusion and disparities.
The winning projects are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant Public Places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other community amenities.
- Ensure a focus on Diversity and Inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community
- Deliver a range of Transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
- Support local recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic with an emphasis on economic development, improvements to public spaces and transportation services
- Encourage the development of a range of Housing options to increase the availability of accessible and affordable choices
“AARP is committed to helping mayors, local leaders and residents strengthen their communities so people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can thrive. Many of our earlier grants have led to permanent changes, and the program continues to evolve. We are proud to support projects this year that focus on diversity, addressing disparities, coronavirus recovery and engaging 50-plus volunteers to improve their communities.”
— Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer
- Increase Civic Engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
- Implement Other Community Improvements that respond to local needs
- Birmingham: Freshwater Land Trust
The Highlands Connector project will upgrade and reinforce an on-street multi-modal pathway leading to a protected path and the Red Rock Trail System.
- Foley: Foley Main Street, Inc.
Musical instruments will be added to an existing pocket park so people of all ages can play and organizations can stage public performances.
- Monroeville: Monroeville Main Street
Game boards will be installed near City Hall and a program called "Play Chess with the Mayor" will help encourage inclusiveness and community connections.
- Montgomery: River Region Trails, Inc.
This demonstration project will create protected bicycle and pedestrian lanes on busy streets in the Old Cloverdale district to show the value of walk-bike infrastructure in the neighborhood and city.
- Anchorage: Anchorage Park Foundation
Musical equipment will be added to the city's first "intergenerational health and healing park," which will also feature artwork, an inclusive playground, a paved labyrinth, fitness features and more.
- Anchorage: Catholic Social Services
An underused courtyard will be converted into a community garden that can provide garden-grown produce to food pantry clients and provide meaningful volunteer opportunities.
- Anchorage: Neighborworks Alaska
Local artists will create artwork that integrates culture and storytelling into interpretive signs placed along the Fish Creek Trail.
- Knik-Fairview, Matanuska-Susitna Borough: Great Land Trust
An ADA-accessible scenic overlook at the Settlers Bay Coastal Park will allow visitors of all mobility levels to enjoy the views of Cook Inlet.
- Aguila: Aguila Community Center
The community center will be improved with a repaired roof and new flooring to make the venue safer and more inviting.
- Camp Verde: Town of Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Division
Seating is lacking along several key stretches of the Town of Camp Verde Sport Complex. Challenge funds will be used to place benches along the 1.6 mile Perimeter Loop Trail and around a pond.
- Fort Defiance: Navajo United Way
This project will support the installation of bus shelters throughout Navajo Nation to provide seating and shade for waiting passengers.
- Tucson: Community Gardens of Tucson
The Blue Moon Community Garden is part of Tucson House, which provides rental support and low-income housing to older adults and people with disabilities. Challenge funds will be used to make improvements and help residents access healthy food.
- Tucson: Tucson Home Sharing Inc. | Pima Council on Aging
An education and outreach effort by Tucson Home Sharing will teach older adults about home sharing, which is an affordable housing option that can reduce loneliness and isolation.
- Willcox: Willcox Theater and Arts, Inc.
An unused lot in the downtown historic district will be transformed into a courtyard that celebrates the area's heritage and character through art installations, features accessible walkways and provides seating so visitors can enjoy and interact in the new space.
- Malvern: Malvern-Hot Spring County Library
This project expands an existing Story Trail & Garden by adding planters, decorative seating and supplies — including outdoor easels for painting classes, and books for summer reading baskets — to support library programs.
- Osceola: City of Osceola
A paved, tree-shaded walking path will be constructed near a playground that's close to the Osceola Senior Center to promote the integration of recreational spaces that serve older adults with those created for households with young children.
- Pine Bluff: City of Pine Bluff
This project will install eight artistic benches, an accessible pavilion and provide materials and supplies that support community gardening.
- Altadena: Altadena Town Council Safe Streets Committee
To advocate for safe access to parks, this demonstration project will include a bicycle park, an accessible nature trail loop and and ecology walk.
- Chula Vista: City of Chula Vista (Development Services Department and Age-Friendly Communities Initiative)
The “We Are Chula Vista” campaign will feature photographs of older Chula Vista residents on mounted banners throughout the city and post their life stories on the community’s website.
- Daly City: Daly City Active Adult and Senior Services
The “Growing Together” project will revitalize long-neglected community spaces in order to to grow organic food.
- Fresno: California State University Fresno Foundation
Leadership Academy classes offered through the Fresno State Gerontology Program will help older adults develop advocacy skills and connect with elected officials.
- Montclair: Montclair Community Foundation
Adding raised garden beds, a shade structure, lighting and seating to the Montclair Community Garden will allow people of all abilities to enjoy the space.
- Oakland: Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley
Working through the Oakland Community Garden program, Habitat for Humanity will supply skilled labor, volunteers and funding to repair and upgrade community gardens so the spaces can provide area residents with nutritious food and safe places to gather.
- Salinas: City of Salinas
A bilingual educational campaign about accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) will make the process of building one more understandable.
- San José: Veggielution
An underutilized parking lot in the downtown arts district will be revitalized with a demonstration garden, farm stand, dog park, mobile food vending hub and artistic murals.
- Boulder: City of Boulder
Solar pathway lights will be installed to illuminate a neighborhood so residents can more safely walk at night.
- Denver, Jefferson and Boulder Counties: Sprout City Farms
Local food solutions will be provided to people who live near three community farms.
- Fort Collins: City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services Department
MHC WELL, a one-day event for mobile home communities, will feature a community clean-up and resource fair.
- Pueblo: Posada
A closed motel will be repurposed into single-room-occupancy housing for older adults who are experiencing homelessness and provide them with opportunities that encourage healthy, stable and self-sufficient living.
- Bridgeport: Groundwork Bridgeport
A series of walking events will pair older adults with local teens to encourage fitness activities, intergenerational connections and an exchange of stories about the city, its people and history.
- Hartford: Green & Blue Foundation
This project will enhance pedestrian safety, comfort and enjoyment with traffic calming features, accessible benches and a community garden.
- Tolland: Tolland Conservation Commission
The Wanat Senior Park will feature accessible walking trails, a labyrinth, a sundial, a pollinator garden and a silo for stargazing.
- Wilmington: Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, Inc.
Open Streets Wilmington will hold events that close streets to motor vehicle traffic in order to create safe spaces for residents to engage in outdoor activities and connect with one another.
- Wilmington: Wilmington Alliance
Sculptural bicycle racks designed by local artists will enhance community spaces and the city's cycling infrastructure.
District of Columbia
- Washington: DC Greens
A roof and waterproofing will be added to the pavilion at Well at Oxon Run Park, a performing arts and outdoor classroom space.
- Washington: DC Office of Planning
Temporary, creatively designed age-friendly benches will be installed at high-priority bus stops until permanent bus shelters are installed.
- Washington: The George Washington University Center for Aging, Health and Humanities — in partnership with the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service | Age-Friendly DC | Age-Friendly Arlington (Virginia) | Age-Friendly Alexandria (Virginia) | Age-Friendly Hyattsville (Maryland) | Age-Friendly Montgomery County (Maryland)
The Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge will bring a diverse, intergenerational group of participants together for one day to design actionable strategies for how to communities can be more age-friendly.
- Washington: Vida Senior Centers
Funding will help a musical group formed at a local senior center acquire needed equipment for performing at weekend markets, street fairs and other community events.
- Casselberry: IDEAS For Us
The Hindu Temple of Central Florida will receive an educational community garden so community members can contribute to and observe the restoration of habitats for pollinator species.
- Deerfield Beach: City of Deerfield Beach | Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization
To increase the mobility, accessibility and safety of a roadway in a predominantly residential area, a “quick-build” project will temporarily install intersection improvements, informational signage, traffic calming features and highly-visible decorative crosswalks.
- LaBelle: LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation
This project will enhance a multigenerational open space by installing concrete tables, canopies and accessible walking paths.
- Miami Beach: Miami Beach Gay Pride, Inc.
A museum exhibition featuring portraits and audio will bring to life "hundreds of years of love" through stories told by same-sex couples.
- Opa-locka: Opa-locka Community Development Corporation
To improve access to free, healthy food for low-income residents, fruit trees and park amenities will be installed in the common area of a multi-family residential development.
- Orlando: City of Orlando
Underserved neighborhoods with limited internet access will receive solar charging tables and artistic shade structures equipped as wireless hotspots.
- Pensacola: Bike Pensacola | Pensacola Community Action Network
The Gonzalez Street Shareway Project is a one-day bike lane test of a shared corridor that helps to connect people and neighborhoods across Pensacola.
- Pinellas County: Florida Dream Center
This program will help older residents with home repairs or modifications such as adding grab bars, chair lifts, wheelchair ramps, staircase handrails and more.
- Athens: Athens Downtown Development Authority
A new interpretive exhibit, an African American culture and heritage library, and a walking tour map will help generate conversation in the community and forge a connection between two historically significant buildings.
- Atlanta: Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
A mobile kiosk in Woodruff Park filled with games and recreational equipment will be improved with new accessibility features and artwork.
- Augusta: Garden City Jazz | Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce
Photographs, videos and live-streamed events from the Soul & Soil Initiative — an outdoor concert series of African American music held on African American-owned farmland — will be used to promote and support local arts and culture, agriculture and agri-tourism.
- Conyers: Conyers Rockdale Library System
Birdhouses and benches will be installed in a park adjacent to the public library.
- Dalton: City of Dalton Housing Authority
Accessibility ramps, picnic tables and improved laundry rooms are among the improvements planned for an affordable housing complex that's home to numerous older adults.
- Lee County, Albany, Sylvester, Thomasville: Southwest Georgia Regional Commission
Grant funds will be used to add accessible seating, recreational equipment and outdoor art displays in four communities.
- Hilo: East Hawai'i Cultural Council/East Hawai'i Cultural Center
The Out-of-Doors program will construct a modular, mobile theater for free and low-cost entertainment performances on the center's grounds and in venues throughout the community.
- Honolulu: Age-Friendly Honolulu | Honolulu Department of Community Services | Palolo Chinese Home
The SafeHomes4Kupuna campaign will raise awareness about home safety modifications for aging in place and provide exterior home modifications to older homeowners.
- Honolulu: Better Block Hawaii
The installation of parklets in Honolulu’s Kalihi neighborhood will support local businesses as they recover from the pandemic, improve safety and livability, and demonstrate how parklets fit with and can enhance the city's transit development plans.
- Honolulu: Kanu Hawaii
Time-banking, also known as skill-sharing, enables people to barter services. Challenge funds will help the Kokua Exchange timebank in its work to alleviate economic burdens and deepen connections between community members.
- Honolulu: Krause Family Foundation — Alana Ke Alana | The ARTS at Marks Garage
Temporary "pop-up" installations at local galleries and senior centers will display art created by older adults from low-income neighborhoods.
- Kailua: Kailua Intermediate School
Transforming an exterior campus wall into a community mural will honor the history and heritage of area residents.
- O'ahu: North Shore Community Land Trust
Restoration efforts at Kahuku Point (one of the few places on Oʻahu with an intact coastal strand habitat) will add fences along trails and recruit volunteers to plant native plants that canprotect the dune ecosystem.
- Ada County: Ada County Highway District Commuteride
Challenge funds will help a workplace mobility pilot program assist small businesses in making facility or mobility enhancements that increase transportation options for employees.
- Blaine County: Blaine County Seniors Council Inc. | The Senior Connection
The new Wood River Valley Daffodil Festival will provide the community with a fun activity and helpful boost to the local economy.
- Hidden Springs: Hidden Springs Town Association
The creation of an all-weather path for the Hidden Springs community and greater Treasure Valley will provide an outdoor recreational option for all ages along scenic riparian trails, a community farm and agricultural fields.
- Lincoln County: Lincoln County Youth Commission
Challenge funds will be used to create an indoor fitness track (to be called the "Lincoln Loop") with a comfortable, accessible walking surface in a climate-controlled environment.
- Pocatello: Growling Garden
Families will receive a raised-bed garden, soil, seeds and plants as part of a food-producing training program.
- Potlatch: Washington, Idaho and Montana Railway History Preservation Group
An historic building will be renovated and updated to offer speeder- and rail-cycle rides to the public. Accompanying activities will take visitors to the Potlatch Depot museum, increasing historical knowledge, community pride of place — and fun!
- Joppa: Village of Joppa (no website)
A community park will be updated with accessible seating, picnic tables, swings and other features that can be used by people of all ages and abilities.
- North Lawndale: Jesus Word Center
A vacant lot will be converted into a community garden that can provide fresh produce to residents who are living in an area with limited access to healthy food.
- Peoria: Phoenix Community Development Services
The Madison Mural Project will turn an urban alley into an inviting, outdoor gathering space with seating and lighting.
- Rogers Park: DevCorp North/Rogers Park Business Alliance
Vibrant art will be added to the crosswalks at several intersections in the core commercial area of Clark Street.
- Urbana: City of Urbana
Challenge funds will benefit the Growing Community Initiative, which invites local artists to design and install works of art in selected local gardens.
- Indianapolis: Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.
Transforming a vacant lot alongside a neighborhood center will create a community orchard with native shade trees, benches and accessible pathways.
- Indianapolis: Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center Indianapolis, Inc.
Local teenagers will create highly-visible crosswalks to provide safer paths for pedestrians in an area suffering from traffic violence.
- Kendallville: City of Kendallville
An abandoned lot will be transformed into a usable park space with a stage, tables, seating and an area for food trucks and local vendors.
- Loogootee: Loogootee Beautification Board
A large mural by a local artist will be installed on the side of an abandoned building that's being renovated as a multi-use community space.
- South Bend: South Bend Heritage
An alleyway connecting senior citizen apartments to the rest of the community will be transformed into a vibrant and comfortable outdoor space with benches, picnic tables, games, plants and artistic touches.
- Clarion: City of Clarion
A pocket park will be constructed within the city's central business district.
- Des Moines: Des Moines Historical Society — Waveland Trolley Loop Project
A park and interactive trolley sculpture will be created on a vacant, long-neglected site. The revitalized space will feature informational signage about the Waveland Trolley (which ceased operations in the 1940s) and life in Des Moines during the early 20th century.
- Estherville: City of Estherville
Playground swings suitable for users of varied ages, skills and sizes will be installed at parks throughout the city.
- Malvern: Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development
This project will improve two important public corridors within the community — the Wabash Trace entryway and the Art Alley — with art installations, accessible benches and landscaping.
- Manning: City of Manning
Display cases will be installed in locations throughout the city in order to protect and share cultural items of significance to the community.
- Stanton: Stanton Community Foundation
In honor of the town’s Swedish history, Swedish-themed mile markers will be installed along the Stanton Greenbelt Trail.
- Bartlett: City of Bartlett (no website)
Challenge funds will help develop a park on Main Street to encourage outdoor activities and community gatherings.
- Fort Scott: Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes
A new park will enhance the downtown area by providing a centrally located green space for events and recreation.
- Kansas City: Rosedale Development Association
New flooring, lighting, accessible seating and COVID-19 precautions will enable a community space to once again be used for events, workshops, parties and meetings.
- Manhattan: Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization
Curb extensions and pedestrian islands will be installed at key intersections to enhance pedestrian safety at crossings along popular routes.
- Savonburg: City of Savonburg
A half-mile walking trail and amenities will be added to the city's community park.
- Dixon: Webster County Senior Center
Grant funds will be used to create an outdoor seating area with benches, tables and games.
- Louisville: Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services
This project will help raise awareness about the city’s efforts to increase the availability of accessory dwelling units (or ADUS).
- Owensboro and Daviess Counties: Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum
A state of the art, user-friendly audio guide will be purchased for the museum to increase accessibility and enhance the educational experience.
- Paducah: Paducah McCracken County Senior Center
Funds will be used to create a community garden with accessible walkways, ramps, and garden beds.
- Whitesburg: Appalshop Inc.
A popular trail that serves as a transportation and exercise corridor for a rural town will be updated with resurfacing, a large crosswalk, signage, stencil art and benches.
- Abbeville: Abbeville Main Street
Challenge funds will support the installation of a walking trail and fitness stations in the Lafitte Drive-In Park.
- Baton Rouge: Downtown Development District
Several high-visibility, artistic crosswalks will be created along a core street in the capital city's downtown to improve pedestrian safety and enhance the area's appeal.
- Erath: Town of Erath
Bicycle racks will be installed in the downtown and community park.
- New Orleans: Sankofa CDC
Funding will support intergenerational, nature-centered activities such as fishing, canoeing and hiking at the Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail.
- Ville Platte: The Acosta Foundation
A mural, lighting and benches will be installed on Main Street to commemorate the local Tee Cotton Bowl, an annual high school football game and week-long event (recently featured in the PBS documentary Flat Town) promoting racial reconciliation.
- West Baton Rouge: Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Inc.
The AARP grant will be used for photography and creative writing workshops at the West Baton Rouge Museum.
- Bath: Age Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec | City of Bath
Outdoor chess-and-checker tables will be installed in a public plaza and along downtown streets.
- Bethel Region: Age-Friendly Bethel
The Bethel Region Age-Friendly Community Initiative — in collaboration with the Bethel Congo Crafters, the Bethel Area Arts and Music Program and the Gem Theater — will install decorative wooden benches and picnic tables in well-trafficked outdoor areas in six regional towns.
- Freeport: Town of Freeport
The town will bring the community together for an outdoor event featuring a hot air balloon experience for people of all ages and physical abilities.
- Portland: Portland Downtown
The grant-funded project will activate blighted alleyways with murals that use old doors, lighting, greenery and creative overhead treatments to turn the corridors into engaging multiactivity spaces.
- Readfield: Age-Friendly Readfield
Funding will be used to create a kayak dock, provide outdoor seating at the library and local beach, and acquire equipment for curbside deliveries at the community food pantry.
- South Portland: Age-Friendly South Portland
By demonstrating street-level safety features (such as lane delineators, signage and curb extensions), this project will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, increase crosswalk visibility, shorten street crossing distances and calm traffic.
- Sullivan: Age-Friendly Sullivan
A vacant lot adjacent to a playground will be used for a walking trail and fitness stations.
- Wayne: Aging At Home
To help protect pedestrians and drivers, crossing signals equipped with flashing beacons and arrows will be installed in the community's downtown.
- Baltimore: Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
This project will create a community network to build the capacity of older adults to engage in public policy and knowledge-sharing discussions focused on housing, advocacy and consumer issues.
- Baltimore: ReBUILD Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization
Bee Safe, a crosswalk art project, will engage local teens and other residents to design and create artistic crosswalks that will slow traffic, increase the safety of crossings for school children and celebrate neighborhood identity.
- Howard County: Indian Cultural Association of Howard County, Inc.
“Little Free Pantries” stocked with non-perishable grocery items will be installed in neighborhoods with high levels of food insecurity.
- Boston: City of Boston
The Boston Public Library will add locations to its free, 24-hour Outdoor Wi-Fi Program so people can access high-speed internet services through workstations located outside of library buildings.
- Boston: Urban Farming Institute of Boston
The institute will build and install raised "Grow Boxes" for residents hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic so they can grow fresh, healthy food.
- Lynn: City of Lynn
The funded project will improve public access and amenities and provide arts and cultural programming at two downtown public spaces, enabling safe outdoor gatherings for the community’s diverse population of older adults.
- Middlesex County: Clear Path for Veterans New England
Challenge funds will help in the creation of Clear Path's Memorial Courtyard, which will serve as an outdoor space "where Veterans, families, and the general public can reflect, remember and enjoy the enduring spirit of the United States Military."
- Hamtramck: City of Hamtramck
This project will create more equitable access to city services by providing multi-lingual information about low-cost transportation options and installing bus benches at locations frequented by older adults and children.
- Hamtramck: Eastern Michigan University
Challenge funds will be used to temporarily tranform a downtown alley into a pedestrian-friendly route and community gathering space. Feedback from the short-term project will be used to inform the final design.
- Madison Heights: Association of Chinese Americans, Inc.
An accessible outdoor area featuring benches, a greenhouse and a gazebo will be created at a community center.
- Statewide: League of Michigan Bicyclists
Communities throughout the state will have access to a lending library of bike safety items, including separators for protected bike lanes and curb extenders for use in piloting and testing local infrastructure improvements.
- Brooklyn Park: City of Brooklyn Park/Recreation and Parks
This project will provide portable pathways, accessibility mats and seating in event and outdoor spaces.
- Friendship Park: Family Service Rochester
A pocket park in a diverse, low-income, multigenerational neighborhood will be improved by new trees, seating and a multilingual information kiosk.
- Hibbing: Hibbing Farmers Market
This project will provide sheltered seating at a market entrance and help older adults by providing them with a weekly supply of fresh fruits and vegetables through the Senior Power of Produce program.
- Saint Paul: St. Anthony Park Community Council
Artistic benches, a mural and creative crosswalks will be installed to connect underserved residents (many of whom are older adults, people with disabilities or people of color) along the shortest path to a light rail station.
- Shakopee: City of Shakopee
A thriving community garden needs to be moved from its current location due to a new development. This project will allow the city to convert a vacant lot into a more centrally located and accessible space.
- Wadena County and the cities of Brainerd, Cass Lake, Little Falls and Long Prairie: Region Five Development Commission
Transit passes, transit training and memberships to a health and wellness center will be provided to 50 low-income seniors, veterans and members of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
- Hattiesburg: Hattiesburg Landmark Preservation, Inc. (no website)
This project will make culturally enriching improvements to Duncan Lake Park in Downtown Hattiesburg by painting a mural on the recreation building, restoring seating and providing free arts programming.
- Jackson: Jackson Heart Foundation
Challenge funds will be used to design, develop and implement an accessible wayfinding system for Jackson’s new multiuse trail corridor.
- Ocean Springs: Ocean Springs Pedestrians and Residents for Exercise and Youth Safety (OSPREYS)
The grant will be used to improve pedestrian safety on one of the city's busiest avenues and complete a pocket park located in an underused parking lot.
- Columbia: PedNet Coalition
Traffic calming demonstrations will address many of the infrastructure gaps that undermine the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. A lending library of street safety supplies will be created for use during future "pop-up" projects.
- East St. Louis: Citizens for Modern Transit
Grant funds will be used to transform a transit station into an active space that promotes bus and light-rail use, supports creative play and celebrates the history and culture of East St. Louis.
- Kansas City: Midtown KC Now
This project will completely refresh and overhaul Major Murray Davis Park by working with residents to identify and complete park improvements.
- Springfield: Commercial Street Community Improvement District
The Inclusion Mural project will increase the visibility of area businesses and organizations while providing places for people to sit, interact and spend time outdoors.
- Great Falls: YWCA Great Falls
Challenge funds will support educational opportunities and resources for businesses, civic groups and nonprofits dedicated to social equity and inclusion.
- Helena: The Myrna Loy
A community-driven project will enliven an underserved neighborhood with artistic benches, lighting, planter boxes, bicycle racks and public art.
- Roundup: Roundup Community Partners
Volunteers will install benches and tables along Main Street and at a new welcome plaza.
- Imperial: City of Imperial
A vacant alleyway and lot will be transformed into a mini-park with murals, benches, raised garden beds and a mosaic dragon for children to play on.
- Lawrence: Nuckolls County Foundation/Lawrence Community Fund (no website)
New park benches and accessible picnic tables will enhance the community park next to a swimming pool and activity fields.
- Omaha: Spark
The installation of a mural, community gardens and seating at the southern trailhead of the North Omaha Trail will help turn an unused parking lot into an interactive public space.
- North Las Vegas: City of North Las Vegas
Challenge funds will be used to promote exercise and outdoor activities as part of the city’s "All the Best Paths are Taken by Foot" campaign.
- Reno: Center for Healthy Aging
A vacant lot will be turned into an intergenerational, indigenous community garden to provide nutrition and gardening education to Native American tribes and other community members.
- Searchlight Township: Searchlight Betterment Organization
A bocce ball court will be installed in the Trails Community Park to provide residents with an activity that can be enjoyed by people of varied ages and abilities.
- Winnemucca: Age & Dementia Friendly of Winnemucca
This project will restore and update a community garden to promote better nutrition and encourage connections among residents.
- Coos County: Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail
To entice community members and visitors to spend time outdoors, benches will be installed at scenic destinations along the Presidential Rail Trail in the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge.
- Greenland: Great Bay Stewards
This project will further develop an accessible garden area at the Great Bay Discovery Center by creating an interactive sculpture, a sensory garden and handicap-accessible play structures.
- Hudson: Regenerative Roots Association
Challenge funds will be used to transform underutilized spaces into active community farms that can act as hubs for social interaction, sustainable food production, educational opportunities and local events.
- Manchester: The Nature Conservancy
The All Persons Trail in the Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve will be accessible to visitors of all abilities and comfort levels.
- Newport: Town of Newport
Recreational wayfinding signs and trail kiosks will be installed to increase and improve visits to the town’s trail system.
- Berkeley Heights: Berkeley Heights Township
The Trailblazer Project will inform, showcase and encourage the use of community walking trails by displaying a township map in four strategically placed structures.
- Camden: Camden Community Partnership
This project will transform an underutilized lot into a gathering space and engage older adults from North Camden in the creation of a mural highlighting residents' ties to the community.
- Englewood: Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
Project funding will be used to celebrate the achievements of Black women through an artistic mural designed by Black women who live in the community.
- Jersey City: Jersey City Housing Authority
This project will provide Wi-Fi, smart home devices, a computer lab and digital literacy programming for older adults in a public housing development to help reduce social isolation, bridge language barriers and create sustainable, on-site digital programming.
- Red Bank: Borough of Red Bank
To encourage walking and outdoor activities, “Destination Red Bank” will place wayfinding decals throughout the borough and add a parklet to a popular street.
- Albuquerque: Mid-Region Council of Governments | Healthy Here Initative
Challenge funds will be used to install a wellness path around the perimeter of the Los Griegos Health and Service Center and add an information kiosk highlighting the adjacent Acequia Trail system.
- Albuquerque: National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation
A new exhibit will feature stories, images and information about Hispanic/Latinx health care heroes working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will also learn about the pandemic’s impact on Hispanic/Latinx communities nationwide.
- Rio Arriba County: Vallecitos Community Center and Library
The addition of a covered walkway and footbridge will help make the community center and library safely accessible in all types of weather.
- Roswell: MainStreet Roswell
This project will teach children about recycling and using math skills for activities such as sorting and weighing the discarded bottle caps that are used to make new benches for the city's downtown.
- Santa Fe: Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization
A reusable protected bicycle lane "pop-up" tool kit will allow the city and community groups to demonstrate and test examples of bicycle-friendly infrastructure. The demonstrations will help support the implementation of an all-ages-and-abilities bicycle network.
- Brooklyn: Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet
This project will support work to conduct interviews with older residents from each of New York City's five boroughs about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Buffalo: Habitat for Humanity Buffalo, Inc.
Grant funds will be used to engage and train older volunteers and bring together a diverse group of service-minded individuals to build affordable housing units.
- Rochester: Hinge Neighbors
Challenge funds will be put toward programs, projects and events that can help reconnect and introduce to one another the residents of two communities that had been one neighborhood before it was divided and displaced by an expressway constructed in the 1950s.
- Charlotte: Brand the Moth
The "Explore Your Greenway" project will create a digital, GPS-guided tour of community murals, public art projects and historic sites connecting four neighborhoods along the Charlotte Greenway. In addition, a bright, community-based mural by local artists and volunteers will be added to the trail.
- Greensboro: Creative Aging Network-NC/Center for Creative Aging North Carolina
The "Creativity as a Catalyst for Inclusion" project will transform a 10-acre campus into a hub of multicultural and intergenerational art, community gardening and environmental stewardship by installing an "international garden," contructing an outdoor classroom, and hosting programs and events.
- Henderson: Flint Hill Kittrell Vance Community Development Corporation
Challenge funds will be used for the new Downtown Henderson Art & Heritage Walk, and will include an intergenerational oral history program, a Black Heritage mural, and artistic crosswalks for improved pedestrian safety and access.
- Hendersonville: Friends of Downtown Hendersonville
Murals and artistic crosswalks will decorate and enliven a pedestrian connection between two downtown commercial districts.
- Raleigh: City of Raleigh
Grant funds will be used to create a welcoming space — and connector for the east and west sides of the city — by installing benches, a bike rack, a sunshade and other outdoor furnishings.
- Southport: John N. Smith Cemetery Resoration and Preservation
An outdoor museum within a historic African American cemetery will share and celebrate the contributions made by Black residents.
- Statewide: NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center
The "Main-to-Main Trail Project" will promote community development and pandemic-related economic recovery efforts in more than 60 North Carolina communities by connecting the downtown districts with natural and cultural assets.
- Bismarck: City of Bismarck
Challenge funds will be used to improve street safety and revitalize an underused park.
- Bowman: Bowman County Development Corporation
A vacant Main Street lot will be turned into a garden and pocket park that will provide shade, seating, a mural and accessibility features.
- Grand Forks: Grand Forks Public Library
The Intergenerational Music Playground will bring people of all ages, cultures and abilities together in an interactive and fun way that fosters community connections, inspires innovation and encourages curiosity.
- Rugby: Geographical Center Historical Society
An underutilized outdoor space will be made more useful and attractive by the addition of shrubs, picnic tables, electrical outlets, camping pads and an "edible greenspace" featuring fruit trees.
- Akron: Asian Services In Action, Inc.
To improve food access for the city’s immigrant, refugee and low-income residents, a public pavilion will be constructed to house a community-based farmer’s market.
- Amesville: Village of Amesville
To celebrate the community's status as a "Bee City USA" honoree — a designation bestowed by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation — a large pollinator garden will be planted and used for guided tours and educational classes.
- Chillicothe: City of Chillicothe
As part of an established plan to improve the Chillicothe Transit System, this project will install artistic, accessible bus stop structures that can help to improve social connections among passengers.
- Cleveland: Near West Side Multi Service/May Dugan Center
Challenge funds will be used to create an outdoor space with tables, seating and shade umbrellas so older adults can meet, eat and relax.
- Delaware County: SourcePoint
Community volunteers will work with residents of an apartment complex for older adults and people with physical disabilities to create a garden and accessible space for outdoor activities.
- Mansfield: Richland Community Development Group
A temporary linear park will be installed to enliven a downtown road and help residents envision what a permanent connection between the city's Imagination District and Carrousel District.
- Chickasha: Chickasha Economic Development Council
Artistic crosswalks will be installed throughout the community's downtown to slow traffic, encourage pedestrian access and support bicycle safety.
- Eufaula: City of Eufaula
The “Musical Walk Project" will help enliven a downtown area by installing outdoor musical equipment along a pathway and at points of interest in the community.
- Oklahoma City: City of Oklahoma City
Two flower beds in Memorial Park will be converted into rain gardens to collect and filter parking lot stormwater runoff.
- Tulsa: Met Cares Foundation
By bringing together students, artists and older adults, this project will create a community-centered mural adjacent to a grocery store that recently opened in what was previously a food desert.
- Medford: Rogue Retreat
Challenge funds will help acquire and install furnishings and accessibility ramps at a former motel that's being used to provide unhoused residents of Jackson County with non-congregate emergency shelter and transitional housing.
- Portland: Alberta Main Street
Grant funds will be used to promote the “Summer of Alberta” program to low-income housing districts and other often-overlooked individuals in order to increase cultural activities for children and expand their access to fun outdoor experiences.
- Portland: City of Portland, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (Age-Friendly City Program)
To better integrate residents of all ages, races and abilities, the city will launch an Age-Friendly Civilian Corps, a business ambassador program and a variety of other community programs.
- Tigard: City of Tigard
By housing two food carts at a downtown plaza,“Tigard on a Roll” will serve as a mobile food-and-beverage business incubator for minority entrepreneurs.
- Veneta: Fern Ridge Public Library
Challenge funds will be used to create a welcoming and safe public courtyard containing furniture created from a beloved Heritage Oak tree that once stood in the location.
- Corry: Impact Corry
To provide residents with easier access to Mead Park, an accessible walking trail, pedestrian crosswalk system and other amenities will be installed in residential neighborhoods within a 10-minute walk of the park.
- Philadelphia: Neighborhood Gardens Trust
Raised garden beds, a water line and a delivery gate will be installed to preserve and enhance the Viola Street Community Garden.
- Philadelphia: The Food Trust
Funding will be used to create signage and educational walking tours of an urban garden and orchard that helps supply an adjacent farmers market. To promote healthy eating and grow the city's urban farming network, the grantees will distribute discount coupons for produce and provide gardening tools to new growers.
- Pittsburgh: Bloomfield Development Corporation
Artistic crosswalks will be installed to improve pedestrian safety and help inspire constructive conversations about the neighborhood's future.
- York County: York County History Center
A mobile recording booth will be used to collect the stories from community members for sharing at local events, festivals, schools and senior centers.
- Rincon, Orocovis, Mayaguez, Rio Grande and Ponce: ACOMERPR
Led by an organization that provides food and medical resources to at-risk older adults and people displaced by recent earthquakes, the funded project involves installing garden beds and internet-equipped conference rooms at several senior citizen centers.
- Central Falls: Progreso Latino, Inc.
A pavilion will be constructed and accessible picnic tables installed to create a space for community gatherings and activities.
- Providence: Providence Community Library
A library lawn will become the location of a staffed, resource-rich park featuring books, games, activities and technology services.
- Providence: Southside Community Land Trust
Area youth will build accessible garden beds and help older adults in low-income neighborhoods grow and harvest fresh produce.
- Charleston: City of Charleston — Keep Charleston Beautiful Program
Hampstead Square, the city's oldest public green space, will receive much-needed improvements, including an irrigation system, new landscaping and a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Richland County: Richland Library
Grant funds will be used to create an open-source "Let's Talk Race" curriculum that includes facilitation training and a digital tool kit for fostering productive conversations about race, bias, inclusivity and equality.
- Summerton: SC Uplift Community Outreach
The Cross My Heart Free Mobile Clinic that uses community volunteers to deliver health screenings and primary care services to low-income, uninsured and underserved populations.
- Edgemont: West River Transit Authority, Inc./Prairie Hills Transit
Project funding will be used to provide residents with safe public transportation options for getting to medical appointments and essential shopping.
- Huron: Huron Housing Authority
Challenge funds will support the purchase and installation of shade trees at a new dog park that's a popular gathering spot for pets, their people and local residents.
- Martin: SDSU Extension
To help the Hope Garden pocket park live up to its potential as a community asset, critical repairs and upgrades will be made.
- Mission: City of Mission
A new park and center of community activity for Sičháŋǧu Oyáte (a branch of the Lakota people) will receive improvements including a new playground surface and park benches, an accessible ramp, security lights and a generator.
- Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Red Cloud Indian School
To increase access to and encourage the use of locally grown food by older residents, the community's farmers market will host special shopping sessions (called "Elders Hours") and other age-friendly activities.
- Sioux Falls: St Michael Parish
Grant funds will be used to organize and engage local volunteers by conducting a “Bystander and Upstander” workshop about making a community more inclusive and welcoming.
- Knoxville: Family Promise of Knoxville
Community volunteers will repair and ready an older house so it can be used as transitional housing for a family experiencing homelessness.
- Memphis: Knowledge Quest
Materials will be purchased to support the Green Leaf Agritourism Masterplan for a South Memphis hydroponic project, which will provide fresh produce through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.
- Nashville: Rebuilding Together Nashville
Revitalization projects at several community spaces in the Bordeaux neighborhood will help improve neighborhood pride, enhance community services and build local networks.
- Dallas: City of Dallas Transportation Department
Challenge funds will be used to improve pedestrian crossings at a busy intersection in a residential neighborhood.
- Houston: City of Houston Planning Department
Preapproved construction documents will be assembled and made available to homeowners interested in building an accessory dwelling unit (or ADU).
- Houston: Greater Northside Management District
Signage will be installed in five communities to improve pedestrian connections to businesses, increase safety and enhance neighborhood identity.
- Houston: Houston Land Bank
The installation of lights, raised garden beds, and an accessible pathway at a community garden will better enable the space to be used for community events and educational workshops.
- Houston: My Connect Community
Funding will be used to convert underutilized street-side lots into a people-friendly green spaces by adding shade trees and structures, seating, landscaping and a mural.
Houston: North Houston Management District
As one of Houston’s first augmented reality (AR) installations, a new mural will help make the Aldine Branch Library a more engaging destination.
- Ephraim: Ephraim City
Outdoor games and recreation features will be installed at a local park frequented by older adults and families.
- Green River: Epicenter
An age-friendly green space with accessible trails, seating and shade will be installed at Canal Commons, a housing development for people with limited incomes..
- Helper: Helper City
Signage and audio narrations about the solar system will be installed along a popular riverside walkway.
- Salt Lake City: Sweet Streets Salt Lake | HEAL Utah
A campaign to promote safe, inclusive and accessible streets in the state's capital city will work with community organizations that represent people of color, older adults, children and people with disabilities in order to best meet the needs of residents.
- Burlington: Vermont New American Advisory Council | AALV
Challenge funds will assist with efforts to engage new Americans in educational activities so they can become civically engaged.
- Middlebury: Find Your Wings | Middlebury Community Music Center
Temporary art installations will be added to the city's downtown district to help beautify and revitalize the area and local economy.
- Northfield: Northfield Common Connections
The community's downtown will be better connected to a local park by the installation of an accessible pedestrian lane.
- St. Johnsbury and Newport: Vermont Community Garden Network
This project will provide the expertise and supplies needed to plan, plant and preserve food grown in community gardens at two rural, affordable housing locations.
- Wolcott: Town of Wolcott
A new park located near the public library, town offices and a trailhead will connect the spaces and feature a community garden, a Wi-Fi hot spot, games, seating and tables.
- Worcester and Elmore: Vermont River Conservancy
An river trail will be enhanced by the installation of wayfinding signs, trail maps, benches, and accessible paths and restrooms.
- Frederiksted: Virgin Islands Council on the Arts
Grant funds will be used for a community mural project that will engage older adults and people with disabilities in its creation.
- St. Croix: Virgin Island Trail Alliance, Inc.
Work done for this project will create miles of walking and hiking trails by clearing paths of hurricane damage, installing signs and maps, and improving the seating and parking options near the trails.
- Arlington County: Arlington County Commission on Aging | Alliance for Arlington Senior Programs
Challenge funds will be used to place handheld “See Me” flags at intersections so pedestrians can make themselves more visible to drivers.
- Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock Counties: Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission-Regional Transportation Collaborative
Funds will be used for the “Trusted Community Partner” campaign, a community awareness and trust-building effort to help older adults and individuals with disabilities feel more comfortable about using the area's transportation options.
- Lynchburg: Downtown Lynchburg Association
An overlooked alley will be transformed into an attractive, artistic and usable public space.
- Powhatan County: Habitat for Humanity — Powhatan
Four design charrettes (or workshops) will be hosted to discuss the ways an abandoned, historic school building can be reimagined and renovated as housing.
- Powhatan County: Powhatan County Department of Social Services/Ride Assist Services
Challenge funding will be used to acquire accessible seating for public spaces and easy-to-ride adult tricycles.
- Richmond: Venture Richmond
A custom-designed parklet will provide a neighborhood desperately in need of public gathering spaces with an attractive, safe and shaded destination.
- College Place: City of College Place
Free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots will be installed in four key locations to provide internet access to people who lack reliable internet services at home.
- Snohomish: Friends of the Snohomish Library
Funding will support the Snohomish Library Story Trail, an installation of 22 "stations" — each holding pages from a children's picture book — placed along the Centennial Trail.
- Tacoma: Food is Free Project Washington | Food is Free Tacoma
Food Independence Gardens (FIGs) will be created and installed at locations throughout the community to decrease food insecurity, provide fresh food in food deserts and help build community connections.
- Buckhannon: Upshur County Public Library
This project will create a small parklet at the library to provide an appealing public green space that can be used and enjoyed by library patrons and community residents.
- Hinton: Summers County Huddle
The creation of a community green space will include a playground for children and a community garden accessible to all residents.
- Parkersburg: Downtown PKB, Inc.
Two building walls will be used for a public mural to be created during “painting parties” attended by interested community members.
- Sutton: Sutton Community Development Corporation
To connect popular gathering spots, locations near the community garden and farmers market will receive upgrades including accessible seating, picnic tables, artistic crosswalks, lighting and shade canopies.
- Appleton: Creative Downtown Appleton, Inc.
A new parklet equipped with solar lights, art, a bike rack and a hand sanitizer station will provide accessible public seating on College Avenue.
- Ashland: City of Ashland
Victorian-style wooden benches will be decorated by local artists and installed in the city's downtown.
- Chilton: Chilton Public Library
A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational activity through which the pages of a children's book are posted along a popular walking route. Grant funds will be used to install bilingual stories at walkable locations around the community.
- Green Bay: The Farmory
The installation of an indoor aquaponics system will allow for the growth and harvesting of fresh food year round.
- La Crosse: City of La Crosse Planning Department
Volunteers will participate in walking tours to assess accessibility and make location recommendations for the installation of ramps.
- Madison: City of Madison
An underused path between a community school and park will be remodeled into a welcoming gateway with solar lighting, native plants, wayfinding signage and accessible seating.
- Evanston: City of Evanston, WY-Urban Renewal Agency/Main Street
New parklets equipped with swinging tables and traffic calming installations on nearby streets will help improve the vitality and increase the appeal of the city's historic downtown.
- Wheatland: Town of Wheatland
The installation of two pickleball courts will revitalize an underused park space.
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 July 28, 2021, updated September 27, 2021
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