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Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and CBOs for Projects and Programs to Improve Local Communities

2023 AARP Community Challenge

GrantWatch ID# 185431
Agency: Foundation

Funding Source
AARP Foundation
Array ( [0] => Puerto Rico (USA); [1] => Virgin Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 03/15/23 5:00 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community-based organizations for projects and programs to improve local communities. Programs must fall into one of the following categories: demonstration, capacity building, and flagship projects. The purpose of the program is to make communities more livable.

The AARP Community Challenge is accepting applications across three different grant opportunities:

Flagship Grants

Applications are accepted for projects that benefit residents — especially those age 50 and older. Projects can:

  • 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, and access to public and private transit
  • Support housing options that increases the availability of accessible and affordable choices
  • Ensure a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community;
  • Increase digital connections by expanding high-speed internet and enhancing digital literacy skills of residents
  • Support community resilience through investments that improve disaster management, preparedness and mitigation for residents
  • Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
  • Improve community health and economic empowerment in support of financial well-being and improved health outcomes

Capacity-Building Microgrants: This new grant opportunity will benefit residents (especially those age 50 or older) in the following categories:

  • Walkability: Implement a walk audit to assess and enhance the safety and walkability of a street or neighborhood with support from America Walks, using the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit.
  • Community Gardens: Start or enhance a community garden with support from 880 Cities, using the new AARP publication Creating Community Gardens for People of All Ages.

Demonstration Grants: By supporting demonstration efforts that encourage the replication of promising local efforts, this new grant opportunity will benefit residents (especially those age 50 and older) by:

  • Advancing solutions that build capacity towards transportation systems change. 
  • Implementing accessory dwelling unit (ADU) design competitions that increase public understanding of this housing option and encourage the implementation of ADU supportive policies.

AARP Community Challenge grants can be used to support:

  • Permanent physical improvements in the community
  • Temporary demonstrations that lead to long-term change
  • New, innovative programming or services


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The program is open to:
- 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits (Nonprofit organizations must be recognized by the IRS in order to receive funds.)
- Government entities
- Other types of organizations considered on a case-by-case basis. (Funds will not be provided to any for-profit company, nor individuals. However, AARP does allow for IRS recognized 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) tax-exempt non-profit organizations or government entities to serve as fiscal sponsors of grants.)

The following projects are not eligible for funding:
- Partisan, political or election-related activities
- Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities without tangible engagement
- Studies with no follow-up action
- Publication of books or reports
- Acquisition of land and/or buildings
- Purchase of a vehicle (such as a car or truck)
- Sponsorships of other organizations’ events or activities
- Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor
- Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
- The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services

Pre-Proposal Conference
AARP Livable Communities is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, February 8th between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Eastern Time). This webinar will describe the 2023 Community Challenge grant program, explain the application process, highlight the work of a few past grantees who jump-started long-term changes in their communities, and answer applicant questions.

More information:

Pre-Application Information
Applications must be submitted through the online application form (see the box above) with all pertinent information by Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 5 p.m. (ET)

Important Dates in 2022
- January 18: Application window opens
- March 15: Applications due by 5 p.m. (ET)
- Mid-May: All applicants will be notified by email of their status
- June 28: Public announcement of the selected grantees — and work on the projects begin

Grant recipients and unselected applicants will be notified by email in May 2023. Grantees must execute and email a binding Memorandum of Understanding and completed vendor forms to AARP by Wednesday, June 14, 2023. Noncompliance with this deadline may result in disqualification or delayed funding.


To watch the recordings of the 2023 Webinars that took place on Feb. 8, 14, and 16, click on the Full Grant Text RFP link.

Estimated Size of Grant
Flagship Grants: The flagship AARP Community Challenge grants have ranged from several hundred dollars for smaller, short-term activities to tens of thousands of dollars for larger projects. Since 2017, AARP has funded projects ranging from $500 to $50,000 with an average grant amount of $11,900 (83 percent of grants have been under $20,000.)

Capacity-Building Microgrants: $2,500 grants with additional resources — such as webinars, AARP Livable Communities publications, cohort learning opportunities and/or up to two hours of one-on-one coaching with leading national organizations

Demonstration Grants:
- Transportation Systems Change: This opportunity for grant funding of approximately $30,000 to $50,000 per project is sponsored by Toyota Motor North America.
- Accessory dwelling unit (ADU) design competitions: This opportunity for grant funding will provide approximately $10,000 to $15,000 per project.

Term of Contract
November 30: All funded projects must be completed

Contact Information
Apply online:

Applicants and others with questions can email

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