GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-North End Wellness Coalition of Grand Rapids has been named a recipient of a 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant, one of two grantees selected in Michigan.

The $16,055 grant will be used to pay for installation of five ADA-approved benches to be placed along a business corridor, accommodating residents with limited mobility, and increasing access to a city pathway.

“We’re ever so grateful for the AARP grant, which will finance benches as a part of our urban trail system,” said Dr. Jacqueline Brayman, Project Manager for the North End Wellness Coalition. “The pathways are designed to be a safe and easily accessible place to walk and socialize. The benches provide everybody the opportunity to get out and walk and rest as needed. We recognize that socialization is a major part of our overall wellness.”

North End Wellness Coalition was formed in 2016 by six pastors to address the increasing number of health issues evident in the north end of Grand Rapids. Visit for more information.

The project that was awarded the AARP grant will place benches along North Quarter Pathways, a 5.5-mile urban trail that snakes through the resident and business communities. The trail is comprised of five loops, and each loop needs a bench for those with limited mobility, enabling a larger population to access the pathways.

This project is part of the largest number of Community Challenge grants to date with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All projects are expected to be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access a wider range of transportation choices.
  • Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
  • Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
  • Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.

“North End Wellness Coalition is doing the kind of work that makes a positive difference to the lives of older adults in Grand Rapids,” said Paula D. Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan. “Our goal at AARP Michigan is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.”

The other Michigan grantee is Age Alive at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The full list of grantees can be found at

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. View an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Michigan’s livable communities work at

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

(Sponsored by AARP Michigan)