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Community Challenge Grants Benefit All Ages

Last year, AARP distributed a total of $1.3 million to fund 129 "quick action" projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. (National Civic Design Center)
Last year, AARP distributed a total of $1.3 million to fund 129 "quick action" projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. (National Civic Design Center)
February 28, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – AARP Tennessee is accepting applications through April 17 for its 2019 Community Challenge Grant to fund "quick-action" projects that spark change in local communities.

The grant program is in its third year and is part of AARP's nationwide Livable Communities initiative.

Eric Hoke, design manager at the Nashville Civic Design Center received one of the grants in 2017 and says the program aims to make communities accessible for people of all ages.

Hoke said the center applied for temporary low-cost installations that made two Nashville neighborhoods safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"It was a really great opportunity because it allowed us to really get and become more involved with this specific community," he said. "I'm told that, this spring, the designs that we informed will be implemented by our government."

The Community Challenge Grant is open to nonprofits and government entities and can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand for larger projects.

Grant funds can be used to improve quality of life through transportation, walkability, bike-ability, wayfinding and housing in Tennessee communities.

Hoke explained that the Nashville Civic Design Center benefited by increasing community involvement in its design process. The group relied on civic and church groups as well as local festivals and parks for implementation of its projects.

"I definitely would encourage people to apply for it, because it allowed us this opportunity to experiment with public space, and then we could actually see some physical change come from it," he added, "so we had pretty good community engagement on this."

Since 2017, AARP has awarded 217 Community Challenge grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities representing every state and U.S. territories. Find information about how to apply here.

Antionette Kerr, Public News Service - TN