AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
AARP Wyoming invites local eligible organizations and governments across the country to apply for the 2023 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through March 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
To submit an application and view past grantees, visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge. Community Challenge 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. 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 Wyoming 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 AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “The Community Challenge has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing Wyomingites’ quality of life.”
About the Grant Program
Previous Community Challenge grants have led to impressive 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.
Since 2017, AARP has awarded more than $12.7 million to over 1,060 projects – including 10 in Wyoming – through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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.
The Community Challenge is open to eligible nonprofit organizations and government entities. Other types of organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to tens of thousands for larger projects.
The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. Eastern, March 15, 2023. All projects must be completed by November 30, 2023. To submit an application and view past grantees, visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge.
Past Community Challenge Grant Awards
The Casper American Legion received $30,000 for its Wyoming’s Fallen Memorial, a monument which will feature the name of every Wyoming citizen who has given their lives in combat defending the freedom of the United State since the start of Wyoming’s statehood. The Casper American Legion has worked with the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars to find a way citizens can observe the memorial by foot, wheelchair, or even car. The memorial is located at Patterson Park, along the North Platte River near Fort Caspar.
The Veterans’ Rock organization out of Cheyenne received $4,000 to help provide transportation to older veterans in hopes of helping them to stay independent. Veterans’ Rock will use this money to fund everything from rides in the organization’s vehicles, to city transit, commuter buses, and even to offer basic car repairs. Veterans' Rock, which opened nearly two years ago, is a nonprofit organization created solely to help veterans in need and their families with clothing, personal care items, foods, household goods, small apartment-size furniture, gas and food cards. The organization also offers veterans computers to help with job searches and telehealth, much needed gear, showers, and a washer and dryer for any veteran in need to do laundry.
Powder River Basin Resource Council (PRBRC) was granted $3,712 to provide accessible and safe seating and path lighting at an established community food forest frequented by families and older adults in Sheridan. The PRBRC and a host of dedicated food forest volunteers have been instrumental in developing and maintaining The Sheridan Food Forest over the last five years. The food forest is filled with apple and pear trees, as well as a wild berry thicket, vegetable garden, grape vines and a perennial pollinator garden and much more.
Children's Museum of Cheyenne received $2,645 to provide a space for relaxation and contemplation on ADA-compliant outside benches, on the Children's Museum of Cheyenne property, close to the Greater Cheyenne Greenway. The museum will place the benches at 1618 O’Neal Avenue in Cheyenne and will be built by five retired volunteers. The Cheyenne Children’s Museum has recently begun construction of its facility.
The Town of Wheatland received $28,000 from AARP in 2021, which it used to construct pickleball courts at Lewis Park on Eighth Street in Wheatland. According to Wheatland officials, there are better than 100 pickleball players in town, ranging in age from 20 to 83. That group struggled to find a place to play last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wheatland used its grant funding to repurpose an underutilized area of the City Park. The community removed seven horseshoe pits (leaving five) and replaced them with two outdoor pickleball courts in an area with existing lighting, adjacent to existing restrooms.
In 2021, Evanston Main Street’s $12,550 grant went towards improving public spaces in downtown, as the Urban Renewal Agency plans to increase outdoor seating with the construction of two swing picnic tables, which will be placed in separate public gathering places.
One side of the picnic tables will be a solid bench, while the other side will have swings with the ends being open to allow for wheelchair accessibility. The second deliverable for the grant will be the addition of decorative crosswalks across Main Street. The crosswalks will bookend the area where the two swinging picnic tables will reside.
The Jackson Hole Land Trust was awarded a $10,250 grant from AARP in 2020 to provide benches in downtown Jackson. The Land Trust will partner with local artists and AARP’s Age Friendly Jackson, to purchase and install at least three locally-made benches. The benches will be located on The Block, a 1.3 acre of downtown greenspace that was recently preserved by the Land Trust. The Block will also include 100-year-old Cottonwood trees, ADA pathways through the greenspace. The Block is on the same street as a local assisted living center, and one block from the Jackson Town Square.
The Cokeville Senior Citizens Center is receiving $25,000 in 2020 Challenge Grant funds to improve walkability as well as the ability for citizens to access the town’s Senior Center. The grant is part of nearly $47,000 in community improvements, which will also include increasing access to the Cokeville City Park’s pavilion and restrooms, by adding ramps to each. The Cokeville project will include improvements to crumbling concrete, the addition of ramps, and replacement of a raised deck in the courtyard at the Senior Center, which will allow those with wheelchairs, walkers, or canes to take part in outdoor activities at the center.
In 2019, The North Main Street Association in Sheridan was granted $11,700 to fund a new gazebo, picnic table and nine benches along the North Main Trail. Meanwhile, The Jackson Hole Community Pathways project was awarded a $14,440 grant to help make downtown Jackson a more enjoyable space for the age 50+. Jackson Hole Community Pathways used the money on a design workshop to solicit input from those age 50 and over on downtown walkability, amenities, and activities. Pathways is also coordinating with Cycling Without Age and Teton Adaptive Sports for two Trishaw bikes that will provide rides to seniors around town.
In 2018, AARP’s Community Challenge program funded projects in Laramie and Rock Springs. In Laramie, a grant of $20,000 to fund a new fully accessible community garden to increase access to healthy food, multi-generational learning opportunities, and support a culture of health for all people living with mobility and disability challenges. In Rock Springs, a $5,000 grant has funded a mural to be prominently displayed in Downtown Rock Springs, which will depict the hard work and sacrifices of local miners and railroad workers.
In 2017, two Wyoming communities – Casper and Jackson – were awarded Community Challenge Grants. In Casper, the grant provided a safer and more convenient bus stop behind the city’s east side Albertsons at 2625 East Second Street. In Jackson, a similar bus stop was replaced in an area which was cluttered with weeds, a broken down vehicle and other trash in an underserved area of the community. A bench was placed on the site and age-friendly signage entices low-income seniors, disabled individuals, and young families to use the bus system.
This story is provided by AARP Wyoming. Visit the AARP Wyoming page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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