Buzz: AARP accepting applications for Community Challenge grants

AARP Florida invites eligible nonprofit organizations and government agencies to apply for the 2024 AARP Community Challenge grant program. Applications are being accepted through 5 p.m. on March 6. AARP Community Challenge grants fund quick-action projects that help communities become more livable by improving public places, transportation, housing, digital connections, and more.

Now in its eighth year, the program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for all residents, especially those age 50 and older.

“AARP Florida is committed to helping communities across the state become great places to live for people of all ages with an emphasis on people age 50 and older,” says AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson. “The Community Challenge Grant Program has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing Floridians’ quality of life.”

The AARP Community Challenge accepts applications across three different grant opportunities. All projects must be consistent with AARP’s mission to serve the needs of people 50 and older along with other eligibility criteria.
  • Capacity-building microgrants are paired with additional resources, such as one-on-one coaching, webinars, cohort learning opportunities and more for improving walkability, bikeability and implementing safe, accessible home modifications.
  • Demonstration grants focus on improving digital connections to prepare and respond to disasters; reconnecting communities divided by infrastructure; and housing choice design competitions.
  • Flagship grants support projects that improve public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; civic engagement; community health and economic empowerment; and new this year community resilience; and digital connections.
“AARP is committed to meeting the needs of a rapidly aging population in communities across the country,” says Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “The Community Challenge aims to be a catalyst for action in cities, towns, and rural areas through quick-action community improvements that benefit people of all ages and abilities.”
Since 2017, AARP has invested $16.4 million toward 1,370 projects – including 42 grants in Florida – nonprofit organizations, and government entities across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the Community Challenge. The program provides direct support to all community types, including rural, suburban and urban communities with a special focus on the needs of those 50 and older.

AARP Florida works in collaboration with communities across the state, bringing people together, and providing resources and expertise to help make Florida’s counties, towns and cities great places to live for people of all ages. Past Florida grantees have improved public spaces, addressed housing and transportation needs and created community gardens and other opportunities for civic engagement.

In 2023, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County received a Community Challenge grant for a project to promote accessory dwelling units as an affordable, accessible housing option through a design competition. Teams from local architecture firms, as well as participants from high school and college architecture programs, presented their ADU designs.

In 2022, the Dunedin Public Library received a grant to fund the addition of universal-access picnic tables to the playground at the library and the creation of a story walk with signage explaining the city's history and other distinctions.

Also in 2022, the city of Tampa received a grant to build a pathway connecting Linebaugh Avenue and apartments for older adults to the walking loop in Takomah Trail Park.

In 2021, the nonprofit Florida Dream Center in St. Petersburg received a grant to help older residents with home repairs or modifications such as grab bars, chair lifts, wheelchair ramps, door widening, handrails, toilet seat lifts and more.

The Community Challenge is open to eligible nonprofit organizations 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 tens of thousands for larger projects.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. March 6, 2024. All projects must be completed by Dec. 15, 2024.

To submit an application and view past granteesgo to AARP Community Challenge grants.
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