AARP has money for communities

Feb 25th, 2020 | By | Category: News

Communities across Washington are working each and every day to become more livable for residents of all ages. In support of that work, AARP provides funding to organizations through the AARP Community Challenge grant program to help them get a jumpstart on neighborhood projects.

We know that it takes time to build great communities. But we also believe that quick action can spark longer-term progress. AARP launched the AARP Community Challenge in 2017 to fund projects that build momentum to improve livability for all. The program is back in 2020 for its fourth year and is currently accepting applications through the April 1 deadline.

The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(6) non-profits and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects.

The program will accept applications for projects in the following categories:

  • New in 2020. Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of community inclusion and diversity.
  • Create vibrant public places through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and enhance access to amenities.
  • Deliver transportation and mobility options through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options, and roadway improvements.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by developing and implementing innovative programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding and using data and participating in decisionmaking to increase the quality of life for all.
  • Other innovative projects to improve the community.

Grant projects in the Evergreen State have helped communities increase civic participation, improve transportation options, and create vibrant public places. In 2017, the City of Seattle sponsored a hackathon called A City for All, which challenged data scientists, designers, urban planners, and software developers to use technology-based solutions to foster a vibrant Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.

Last year, Sound Generations (a King County non-profit formerly known as Senior Services) worked with Hopelink (a Redmond-based social services agency) to educate riders about a variety of transportation options to improve independence and mobility. Pike Place Market in Seattle used their grant to make the market more accessible via signs so people could better locate services available in the market.

Since 2017, the AARP Community Challenge has funded 376 projects nationwide, including eight in Washington.

The application deadline for 2020 AARP Community Challenge grants is April 1. All projects must be completed by Nov. 9. For more information or to apply, visit AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.

Amanda Frame, who wrote this article, is Washington AARP’s outreach director.

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