Grant Opportunity Helps Communities of All Ages and Abilities

older male volunteer assists an older woman navigate stairs to get to a shuttle bus

Communities across Washington are working each and every day to become more livable for residents of all ages. In support of that work, AARP is excited to be able to provide funding to organizations through the AARP Community Challenge grant program to help them get a jumpstart on neighborhood projects.

We know that it takes time to build great communities. But, we also believe that quick action can spark longer-term progress. AARP launched the AARP Community Challenge in 2017 to fund projects that build momentum to improve livability for all. We are excited to announce the program is back in 2020 for its 4th year and is currently accepting applications through the April 1 deadline.

The Community Challenge is open to 501c3, 501c4, and 501c6 nonprofits, and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects.

The program will accept applications for projects in the following categories:

  • NEW IN 2020: Increase civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of community inclusion and diversity;
  • Create vibrant public places through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and enhance access to amenities;
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements;
  • Support the availability of a range of housing through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options;
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by developing and implementing innovative programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding and using data and participating in decision-making to increase the quality of life for all; and
  • Other innovative projects to improve the community.

Grant projects in the Evergreen state have helped communities increase civic participation, improve transportation options, and create vibrant public places.  In 2017, the City of Seattle sponsored a hackathon called A City for All, which challenged data scientists, designers, urban planners, and software developers to use technology-based solutions to foster a vibrant Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.

Last year, Sound Generations worked with Hopelink to educate riders about a variety of transportation options to improve independence and mobility (see photo at top). Our beloved Pike Place Market used their grant to make the market more accessible via wayfinding signs so people could better locate services available in the market.AARP community challenge banner

Since 2017, the AARP Community Challenge has funded 376 projects nationwide, including eight right here in Washington.

The application deadline for 2020 AARP Community Challenge grants is Wednesday, April 1, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time). All projects must be completed by Monday, November 9, 2020.

For more information or to apply, visit

Contributor Amanda Frame manages community outreach for AARP Washington and has been instrumental in building the Age Friendly Seattle initiative.

Photo credit (top): Sound Generations Hyde Shuttle passenger approaches bus at the Central Area Senior Center in Seattle. Hyde Shuttle service is available in Auburn, Beacon Hill/SE Seattle, Burien/Highline, Central Seattle (First Hill, Capitol Hill, Central Area and the International District), Des Moines/Normandy Park, Federal Way, NE Seattle, NW Seattle, Queen Anne/Magnolia/Interbay, Renton, SeaTac/Tukwila, Shoreline/Lake Forest Park, Snoqualmie Valley, and West Seattle.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of AgeWise King County