Some $3.6 million is being distributed to fund 310 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.
In 2023, the AARP Community Challenge will fund projects across three different grant opportunities, two of which were new this year, in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The selected projects are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
1. Flagship Grants
- Creating vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities;
- Delivering a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability and access to public and private transit;
- Supporting a range of housing options that increases the availability of accessible and affordable choices;
- Ensuring a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community;
- Increase digital connections by expanding high-speed internet and enhancing digital literacy skills of residents;
- Support community resilience through investments that improve disaster management, preparedness and mitigation for residents;
- Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion;
- Improve community health and economic empowerment in support of financial well-being and improved health outcomes.
2. Capacity-Building Microgrants
By combining $2,500 grants with additional resources — such as webinars, AARP Livable Communities publications, one-on-one coaching with leading national organizations — the 2023 AARP Community Challenge Capacity-Building Microgrants benefit residents (especially those age 50 or older) in the following categories:
- Walkability: The selected grantees are receiving support to implement a community walk audit in order to assess and enhance the safety and walkability of a street or neighborhood with guidance from America Walks and the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit.
- Community Gardens: The selected grantees are receiving support to create or enhance a community garden with guidance from8 80 Cities and the AARP publication Creating Community Gardens for People of All Ages.
3. Demonstration Grants
By supporting demonstration efforts that encourage the replication of promising local efforts, this new grant opportunity benefits residents (especially those age 50 and older) by:
- Advancing solutions that build capacity toward transportation systems change with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America.
- Implementing housing choice design competitionsthat increase public understanding of housing options and encourage the creation of housing-supportive policies.
ILL and MO
- Alton: Mountains to Molehills
This project will coordinate the installation of air conditioning window units in the homes of residents aged 50+ during the hottest months of the summer.
- Chicago: Good City Group
This project will conduct three walk audits in a busy commercial district and stage a community workshop to identify potential locations for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, with attention given to an intersection where a new Metra commuter rail station is being built. Capacity-Building Microgrant
- Chicago: Greater Chatham Initiative
This project will install a colorful and artistic Complete Streets demonstration, showcasing short-term street and sidewalk alterations to increase pedestrian safety for residents, especially those aged 50+.
- Chicago: Nichols Park Advisory Council
This project will install a comfortable and attractive circular tree bench in a park where residents can sit while they wait for the bus.
- Elgin: Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley
This project will help low-income older residents remain safely in their homes by providing repairs and modifications that address health, safety or code violations issues.
- Rushville: Schuyler County Mental Health Association
This project will turn a vacant lot into a wheelchair-accessible community garden with 25 raised flower and produce garden beds for group therapy, educational and mindfulness sessions. All produce will go to a 24-hour community food pantry for those in need. Capacity-Building Microgrant
- Kansas City: MY REGION WINS!
The grant will turn a formerly blighted vacant lot into a community garden and interactive art installation. Capacity-Building Microgrant
- Poplar Bluff: Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce
The project will add a connector trail for walking and biking, enabling residents to get to the Mark Twain National Forest.
- St. Louis: South Grand Community Improvement District
This project will build a bus shelter, incorporating seating and a decorative planter box filled with native plants, which will add to the vitality of the business district and improve a transit stop frequently used by older adults.
- Springfield: SeniorAge Agency on Aging
This project will provide disaster preparedness kits and safety presentations to older residents in southwest Missouri.