Have a cool community project? AARP has a grant for it

Mar 9th, 2022 | By | Category: News

We know that it takes time to build great communities. But, we also believe that tangible improvements can spark long-term change. AARP launched the Community Challenge in 2017 to fund projects that build momentum to improve livability nationwide. We are excited to announce the program is back in 2022 for its sixth year and is accepting applications online through March 22.

The Community Challenge’s focus on tangible projects, community engagement, and its “quick action” timeline helps selected grantees fast-track their ideas and replicate promising practices. Previous projects have demonstrated an ability to garner additional funds or support from public and private funders, encourage innovation, overcome local policy barriers, and receive greater overall awareness and engagement.

The grant program is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) non-profits and government entities. Other types of organizations are 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.

AARP will prioritize projects that support older adults, are inclusive, address disparities, directly engage volunteers, and aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes (with a focus on people and 50 and older):

  • Create vibrant public placesthat improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options, and roadway improvements.
  • Support housingoptions that increase the availability of accessible and affordable options.
  • Ensure a focus on diversity, equity and inclusionwhile improving the built and social environment of a community.
  • Support efforts to build engagement and leverage funding available under new federal programs through laws like the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Increase civic engagementwith projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion.
  • Other community improvements,including health services, community development, and coronavirus pandemic recovery.

“We are thrilled to bring this grant opportunity back in 2022, and we encourage all eligible organizations to apply,” said Amanda Frame, AARP Washington’s director of outreach “We’ve seen great results from the program supporting communities across Washington as they make tangible improvements that spark long-term change.”


Since 2017, the Community Challenge has funded 800 projects nationwide, including 15 in Washington. The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places to live for people of all ages. We believe that communities should provide residents of all ages (especially 50 and older) safe, walkable streets, affordable and accessible housing and transportation options, access to needed services, and opportunities to participate in community life.

To submit an application and learn more about the work being funded by the Community Challenge, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge. An interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Washington’s livable communities work is at aarp.org/livable.


Christina Clem, who wrote this article, is a communications analyst for AARP Washington.