(PublicNewsService.org) – A grant program that helps with projects that benefit local communities is back. The AARP Community Challenge program selects projects for small, one-time grants. The aim is to fund projects that will make cities and towns better for people of all ages – with an emphasis on folks age 50 and older – and can be completed in a few months’ time.
Marie Bonaminio, a volunteer with AARP Idaho who looks through applications, said the project’s feasibility is one area they focus on.
“Sometimes just the smaller dollars is all they’re looking for to finish a project, sometimes just start the project. Maybe we’re just a piece of it,” Bonaminio said. “But it’s all about making the communities more livable.”
Bonaminio said applications from nonprofit organizations and government entities are prioritized. The deadline for applications is 3 p.m. Mountain time on March 15th. Once they’re funded, the projects must be completed by November 30th. Since it began in 2017, AARP has awarded $12.7-million to more than a thousand projects, including 20 in Idaho.
The Community Challenge program is adding two new grant programs this year. One is a capacity-building micro-grant for improving walkability by starting or expanding a community garden. The other is a demonstration grant, which will focus on transportation improvements and the benefits of accessory dwelling units as a housing solution. While some of the projects funded as part of the Community Challenge’s flagship program may only last a short time, others are there for much longer.
Bonaminio said these are big wins for communities.
“These are actually projects that they put together and they stay there,” she said. “This is to improve their community forever.”
Last year, three projects in Idaho were funded. They included funds to install a permanent sound system at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, a remote locker system for the Emmett Public Library, and an electric cargo bike that carried games and other items around Boise over the summer.
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