Apply Now For AARP Community Challenge Grants
HARTFORD — AARP Connecticut invites community organizations and local government agencies to apply for the 2021 Community Challenge grant program through April 14.
Grants fund quick-action projects that can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects. Now in its fifth year, the grant 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 people of all ages.
“We encourage all eligible organizations to apply,” said Tia Murphy, AARP Connecticut state president. “We’ve seen great results from the Community Challenge grant program in communities across Connecticut, and this year we are increasing our support for projects that focus on diversity and inclusion and aid in local recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Since 2017, AARP has awarded 560 grants through the Community Challenge, including nine in Connecticut, to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
In 2018, AARP Connecticut launched the Livable Communities Grant Program, dedicated to fund the projects of Connecticut nonprofit organizations and municipalities that aim to help neighborhoods, towns ,and cities become great places for people of all ages. The local expansion of the AARP Community Challenge initiative has provided funding for 16 projects in the first three years.
The national grant program provides direct support to all community types, with nearly 40 percent of past projects benefitting rural communities, 20 percent going to suburban locations, and 40 percent improving urban places.
Granted projects have demonstrated an ability to help garner additional funds or support from public and private funders, encourage replication and overcome local policy barriers, and receive greater overall awareness and engagement.
AARP will prioritize projects that deliver inclusive solutions that meet the needs of diverse populations, as well as those that directly engage volunteers through permanent or temporary solutions that aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
*Create vibrant public places that 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;
*Increase the availability of accessible and affordable housing options;
*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;
*Support local recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with an emphasis on economic development, improvements to public spaces, and transportation services;
*Ensure a focus on diversity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community; and
*Other community improvements. In addition, AARP wants to hear about local needs and new, innovative ideas for addressing them.
The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The application deadline is 8 pm on April 14, and all projects must be completed by November 10, 2021.
To submit an application and view past grantees, visit aarp.org/communitychallenge.