AARP has opened applications for the 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant program to fund “quick-action” projects that spark change across the country and here in Oklahoma. Now in its fourth year, the program is part of AARP’s nationwide work on Livable Communities. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand, or tens of thousands for larger projects.
“We are thrilled to bring this grant opportunity back to Oklahoma in 2020, and we encourage all eligible organizations to apply,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma state director. “We’ve seen tangible results from the AARP Community Challenge grant program supporting communities in Oklahoma as they make quick changes and inspire long-term progress.”
The AARP 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. AARP will prioritize projects with permanent or temporary solutions that aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
•Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects. This category is new in 2020 and intended to bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of community inclusion and diversity;
•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;
•Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
•Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding and using data, and participating in decision-making to increase the quality of life for all.
•Other innovative projects to improve the community.
Since 2017, AARP has awarded 376 grants through the AARP Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities representing 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge to see some of the 2019 winners in action.
Last year, Oklahoma grantees included the City of McAlester, the City of Elk City and the Delaware Nation, which transformed outdoor community spaces to be enjoyed by residents of all ages and life stages. The City of McAlester converted an underutilized parking lot to a new park space. The City of Elk City added nine table gardens and three benches to the community’s existing community food garden. The Delaware Nation created a community garden in Anadarko with 25 handicap-accessible raised beds.
The 2020 application deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020, and all projects must be completed by Nov. 9, 2020. To apply or learn more, visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.