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AARP Community Challenge Grants: 11 Projects in California

AARP Community Challenge Grants: 11 Projects in California

For eight years, AARP has been awarding grants to spark conversations and build small, transformative projects about ways to make communities better.

The organization received more than 3,350 applications for its 2024 grant program, As a result, 343 grants totaling $3.8 million were awarded for “rapid action projects” nationwideEleven of these grants went to communities across California – see the full list below.

Grants were awarded in three broad categories to encourage “projects that benefit residents, particularly those age 50 and older”: pioneer grants (range from $500 to $50,000, but can be any amount); demonstration grants (usually between $10,000 and $20,000, but no more than $50,000) and capacity-building micro-grants ($2,500).

Flagship Grants

Leading grants are available for projects that will improve open spaces and parks, increase walkability and biking, support housing, increase digital connectivity, manage disaster preparedness, or support financial well-being and health outcomes.

In California, flagship grants will go to:

  • Imperial Beach construct and maintain a garden to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers, with raised beds and accessible benches suitable for older gardeners. The garden will also host classes and other gatherings. ($15,000)
  • Long BeachWhere Place Making USA The community will build the comal (or traditional sheet pan) and encourage older Meso-American women to revive the weekly tradition of tortilla making, aiming to foster intergenerational connections. ($16,675)
  • Sacramento for a temporary space creation project to transform a parking lot Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum Transformed into an outdoor plaza with accessible benches for older adults. ($10,000)
  • San Diegowhere Adams Avenue Business Association will create a large mural and transform a street into a green space. A pop-up event will present mural designs to be selected by residents, who will come together with professionals and city staff to create the mural. ($20,000)
  • Vallejo for Vallejo Main Streetproject to transform a neglected side street into a vibrant gathering space for residents of all ages. The temporary project will spark discussion about more permanent investments in Vallejo’s downtown revitalization. ($15,000)

Screening Grants

Demonstration grants are for projects that implement promising strategies for habitability: to help better disaster responses, as outlined below: AARP Disaster Resilience ToolkitFacilitate equal participation to reconnect communities divided by infrastructure or help increase communities’ understanding and knowledge of housing solutions.

In California, promotional grants will go to:

  • Fresnowhere U.S. Green Building Council Central California Will hold a design competition to explore adaptive reuse options for an existing vacant office space. ($20,000)
  • Los AngelesWhere Streets for All In neighborhoods divided by highways for decades, she will hold pop-up events to find solutions to reconnect their neighborhoods. ($15,000)

Capacity Building Micro Grants

These grants are provided to communities to learn about and implement bike inspections, walking inspections, and aging-in-place housing regulations.

In California, four such grants will go to:

  • Los AngelesWhere Keiro Services It will train volunteers to conduct three walk audits in the commercial district of Little Tokyo. Participants will identify potential improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks to increase safety for older adults living nearby.
  • Farm CordovaWhere Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates A bicycle inspection will be conducted at Rancho Cordova’s first roundabout, followed by a meeting with city utilities staff to discuss the findings and next steps.
  • San DiegoThe event, in which the Webster Heights Community Development Corporation will invite elderly volunteers to participate in bicycle inspections along a multi-use path to identify potential safety improvements along the route,
  • San FranciscoWhere Outer Sunset Neighbors Chinese-speaking volunteers will be trained to assess the safety and walkability of sidewalks and crosswalks in San Francisco’s Little Chinatown.