AARP encourages North Carolina Communities to apply for 2020 grants to make areas more livable for people of all ages

Posted on 02/10/20

RALEIGH—AARP invites community organizations and local governments across North Carolina to apply for the 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through April 1, 2020. Grants fund “quick-action” projects that can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects. Now in its fourth year, the grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide work on livable communities.


“The AARP Community Challenge helps local leaders and organizations make immediate improvements that benefit residents of all ages. With direct support from AARP, communities are able to make quick changes and inspire long-term progress,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer.

Since 2017, AARP has awarded 376 grants through the AARP Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grants helped organizations jumpstart progress, raise awareness, and attract additional support and funding. The AARP Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis.
In 2019, four North Carolina Communities won Community Challenge grants.

Sustain Charlotte will use the funds it was granted to create signage and markings and to build a trail in Double Oaks Park, now an underused open space connecting three neighborhoods in Charlotte’s north end.


In Mount Airy a Challenge Grant will help add 10 benches, five bike racks and new trees to the Granite City Greenway, a 6.6-mile trail.

In Asheville, Haw Creek Park is undergoing a major face-lift, with AARP funding for new outdoor musical playground equipment for residents of all ages.

And in Trenton a Challenge Grant is helping locals create Heroes Park, honoring those who saved so many people during Hurricane Florence.

2020 Grants

AARP will prioritize projects with permanent or temporary solutions that aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects. This category is new this year and is intended to bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and and facilitate greater sense of community inclusion and diversity.
  • 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, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding, and using data and participating in decision-making to increase quality of life for all.
  • Other innovative projects to improve the community.

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET, April 1, 2020. All projects must be completed by November 9, 2020. To submit an application, visit For examples of past winners, visit

This story is provided by AARP North Carolina. Visit the AARP North Carolina page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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