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AARP Community Challenge Grants Return for Seventh Year


Monday, January 30, 2023   

Nebraska nonprofits and government entities are encouraged to apply for the 2023 AARP Community Challenge grants.

They are part of the organization's Livable Communities initiative. The idea is groups or agencies can pitch projects focusing on community spaces, transportation, housing and community resilience which benefit everyone, but especially people 50 and older.

Todd Stubbendieck, state director for AARP Nebraska, said 18 Nebraska projects have received grants since the program started in 2017, with a total value of around $200,000.

"There is a commitment to making sure those funds are spread around the state, and that includes our rural communities," Stubbendieck explained. "We're talking about quick-action, high-impact projects. Sometimes in those smaller towns, grants of this size can have a really big impact on a smaller, rural community."

The grants are called "quick action" because the projects must be completed by Nov. 30 of this year.

Stubbendieck pointed out the average awards are in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, although some have been higher, and some as low as a few hundred dollars. He noted in the case of small-town projects, sometimes the city itself will apply for the grant.

One new grant category this year is known as "capacity-building microgrants," aimed at goals like improving walkability, and starting or expanding a community garden.

"But I think the thought is that we'll be connecting folks that are applying for these grants with additional nonprofit resources and organizations that can help them develop more capacity to do their projects," Stubbendieck emphasized.

There are also new "demonstration grants," for projects focused on changing transportation systems or increasing awareness of housing options, such as accessory dwelling units.

Stubbendieck added one particularly successful Nebraska grant went to a community garden in Lincoln, near a large population of Karen immigrants, formerly from Myanmar.

"My understanding is, it's really helped improve the neighborhood, make great connections and been a great way to interface with the Karen immigrant community in that part of town," Stubbendieck observed.

The deadline to apply is March 15.

Disclosure: AARP Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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