AARP Community Challenge Grants Fund Local Projects That Spark Change

Encore Years
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – Do you know of a quick-action community project in Michigan that promises to spark positive change?

AARP is now accepting applications for the 2018 Community Challenge grant program to fund these projects. The grant program, which is now in its second year, is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which aims to make communities great places to live for everyone.

The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities and other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Projects may range in scale from small, short-term activities costing hundreds of dollars to larger projects with budgets of a few thousand dollars.

The program will accept applications in the following categories for 2018:

  • delivering a range of transportation and connectivity options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements
  • creating vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and improve access to amenities
  • supporting the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options
  • other innovative projects to improve the community

“The AARP Community Challenge Program is aimed at catalyzing change and improving the quality of life for people of all ages in communities nationwide,” said AARP Michigan Director Paula D. Cunningham. “There are tremendous opportunities for positive change in communities across Michigan and we encourage eligible entities to apply for these quick-action grants to make their communities more livable for all.”

In 2017, AARP awarded 88 grants through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities representing every state. Please visit to see some of the 2017 winners in action, helping to revitalize alleyways, build dog parks, enliven underutilized public spaces and improve unsafe intersections.

AARP Michigan works in collaboration with communities across the state, bringing people together and providing resources and expertise to help make Michigan’s counties, towns and cities great places to live for Michiganders of all ages.

In 2017, these Michigan communities won challenge grants:

  • BessemerCity of Bessemer | Transportation Options

    Artistic bicycle stands were installed around the city to provide secure bicycle parking and, hopefully, encourage more people to bicycle rather than drive.

  • WayneWayne Ripple Effect | Placemaking and Beautification

    An underutilized alleyway owned by the city was transformed into a community gathering and events space.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. ET, May 16, 2018, and all projects must be completed by November 5, 2018. Applications must be submitted through

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