BURLINGTON — AARP Vermont invites local eligible organizations and governments to apply for the 2023 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through March 15.

Grants fund quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public spaces, transportation, housing, civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, and more. AARP Vermont will offer grant writing assistance to qualified applicants. Now in its seventh year, the program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for all residents, especially those age 50 and older.

“AARP Vermont is committed to helping communities across the state become great places to live for people of all ages with an emphasis on people age 50 and older,” said Associate State Director Kelly Stoddard Poor. “The Community Challenge has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing Vermonters’ quality of life.”

Previous Community Challenge grants have led to notable results, with nearly half of grantees leveraging their projects into additional funding support from private and public sector partners and eight in 10 overcoming barriers and advancing change.

In 2023, the AARP Community Challenge is accepting applications across three different grant opportunities, two of which are new this year. All projects must be consistent with AARP’s mission to serve the needs of people 50 and older along with other eligibility criteria. AARP will prioritize proposals that are inclusive, address disparities, and directly engage volunteers age 50 and older.

New this year, the program will provide capacity-building microgrants paired with additional resources, such as one-on-one coaching, webinars, cohort learning opportunities and more for improving walkability and starting or expanding a community garden.

Also new this year, the Community Challenge will offer demonstration grants. A portion will be focused on transportation improvements with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America. Another portion of demonstration grants will focus on promoting greater awareness of the benefits of accessory dwelling units as a housing solution.

AARP will also offer grants under a flagship opportunity to support projects that improve public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital connections; community health and economic empowerment; and new this year community resilience; and civic engagement.

Since 2017, AARP has awarded more than $12.7 million to over 1,060 projects – including 23 projects in Vermont, totaling $235,322 – through the Community Challenge to non-profit organizations and government entities nationwide. The program provides direct support to all community types, including rural, suburban and urban communities with a special focus on the needs of those 50 and older.

Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to tens of thousands for larger projects.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. on March 15. All projects must be completed by Nov. 30. To submit an application and view past grantees, visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.

AARP Vermont is hosting a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 9, between noon and 1 p.m. RSVP at events.aarp.org/VTCommunityChallenge. 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, answer applicant questions, and share a new offering for eligible small nonprofits in the form of grant writing coaches to help with the application process.

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