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Providence, Pawtucket Awarded AARP Community Challenge Grants

Posted on 07/19/19

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PROVIDENCE, RI (July 17, 2019) —Today, AARP announced the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program, including two Ocean State recipients.

A total of nearly $1.6 million will be distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. Nearly 1,700 applications were received from non-profits and government entities for the program, now in its third year. Each of the projects, which must be completed by November 4, is designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by engaging residents and policymakers in accessing, understanding and using data to increase quality of life for all.
  • 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.

In Rhode Island, grantees include:
· At Providence’s Amos House, a $5,000 grant will improve access to fresh food in South Providence by developing a volunteer-managed, 900-square foot garden at 407 Friendship Street. Food harvested from this project will be prepared and served in a soup kitchen that provides 130,000 meals to community members each year.

· Pawtucket Division of Senior Services – Leon Mathieu Senior Center will use its $11,933 grant to create an outdoor activity center designed to encourage seniors and community members to socialize, exercise and enjoy nature. The grant will fund chess/checker tables, benches, planters, raised beds, plants and signage.

“We are so pleased to award these two grants, just the latest in the ongoing contributions AARP is making to enable important work in Rhode Island and to help build livable, Age-Friendly communities,” said AARP State Director Kathleen Connell. “These two projects will last for years as community resources. The work the grants recognize is hard and the people behind these programs and services are tireless in their endeavors. They are to be congratulated and thanked for all they do. AARP encourages all to join together to support good work going on in our cities and towns. Across the state, these programs improve the lives and health of thousands of Rhode Islanders daily.”

“Each year, Amos House serves over 120,000 free meals to our community members,” said John Farber, Chair of Amos House’s Board of Directors. “A significant portion of those we serve are seniors. We are honored to receive this grant from AARP in support of our new community garden. More than just a beautiful addition to the Amos House campus, this garden will provide fresh produce for meals in our Soup Kitchen and provide a positive volunteer activity for many of our active older adult neighbor.”

“This will certainly enable the older adults in our community to enjoy the outdoors and pursue healthy, age-friendly activities,” said Mathieu Center Director Mary Lou Moran. “We will convert an unused space that has been barren asphalt for years into a welcoming oasis that will reduce social isolation and bread new friendships across generations. It’s a big job, but with this generous grant we will be able to bring our long-time dream to fruition.”

The full list of grantees can be found at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge.

“AARP has teams on the ground in communities across the country who hear from mayors, community leaders and local residents about the value of getting quick wins to create long-term change. We developed the Community Challenge grant program to answer that call and help build momentum for more livable communities nationwide,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President, Community, State and National Affairs. “This year, we are proud to fund more projects in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. As part of this, AARP staff and volunteers are working across the country, engaging and mobilizing residents, delivering technical assistance and expertise to local leaders and organizations, and supporting the work of the 381 communities and four states that have enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.

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

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