AARP Accepting Applications for Seventh Annual Community Challenge Grant Program

AARP logo

AARP has announced it is accepting applications for its seventh annual Community Challenge grant program, a funding source for nonprofit organizations and governmental entities to apply for “quick-action” projects that make communities more livable and have the potential to seed long-term change. 

Previous grant awards were given for a wide-range of initiatives, including a 2021 project that provided Wi-Fi, smart home devices, a computer lab and digital literacy programming for older adults in a public housing development in Jersey City, NJ; and a 2019 program to help bridge the digital divide and social isolation by funding a hotspot lending program that distributed 60 hotspot devices.

This year, two new grant award categories have been established in addition to the Flagship Grants awarded in previous years. The two new grant categories are Capacity-Building Microgrants and Demonstration Grants.

AARP Community Challenge Grant logo

Applications are due by March 15. Grant award winners will be announced on June 28 for projects that must be completed by November 30.

Flagship Grants

The Flagship Grants range between several hundred dollars for smaller, short-term activities to tens of thousands of dollars for larger projects with an average grant amount of $11,900. 

Those grants are for projects that benefit residents, especially citizens 50 and older. They can include a variety of initiatives – ranging from the creation of “vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities,” support for affordable housing options, enhancement of community resilience “through investments that improve disaster management, preparedness and mitigation” to delivering transportation and mobility options that “increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and access to public and private transit;” as well as projects that aim to increase digital inclusion projects that expand access to high-speed Internet and develop digital literacy skills.

New Funding Opportunities 

The new Capacity-Building Micgrogrants will fund projects with $2,500 and additional resources — such as webinars, AARP Livable Communities publications, cohort learning opportunities and/or one-on-one coaching with leading national organizations. These grants focus on two areas: improving walkability of a street or neighborhood and/or seeding the cultivation of community gardens.

Another new funding opportunity are the Demonstration Grants, which will support demonstration efforts that “encourage the replication of promising local efforts.” These grants are specifically for transportation and housing initiatives. Demonstration Grant awardees are for organizations that propose winning solutions for building capacity in transportation systems. Funding for these projects will be approximately $30,000 to $50,000 per project and is being sponsored by Toyota Motor North America.

The second type of Demonstration Grants are for “implementing accessory dwelling unit (ADU) design competitions that increase public understanding of this housing option and encourage the implementation of ADU supportive policies.” Winning applications will be awarded between $10,000 to $15,000 per project.

Eligibility Requirements

AARP Community Challenge Grant timeline

Eligible applicants include 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, governmental entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Grants will not be provided to any for-profit company or individuals.

However, AARP does allow for IRS recognized nonprofits or governmental entities to serve as fiscal sponsors of grants.

Applications are due on March 15 by 5 p.m. ET.

A public Q & A Webinar on the grant application process will be held at 2 p.m. ET on February 8. Register for the webinar here.

All applications must be submitted through AARP’s online portal here with projects completed by November 30.

More information on the Community Challenge grant program, the application process, and eligibility requirements can be found here.

A video that explains the grant program can be viewed below: