Grant Spotlight: AARP Community Challenge Grants

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Occasionally on Rural Resurrection, we spotlight a few grants that are available to rural communities throughout the Midwest. Usually, we are talking about a specific project and mention how a grant has helped that project become a reality. But sometimes the grants themselves need attention.

GrantsOver the past few years, we have highlighted a few AARP resources that can be helpful to rural areas. A post on their pop-up placemaking toolkit and another about two new booklets related to missing middle housing can be quite useful resources. But AARP also provides grant funding on an annual basis to make your projects happen, including the Community Challenge Grants.

What are Community Challenge Grants?

The Community Challenge Grant program was started as part of the nationwide AARP Livable Communities Initiative targeted at helping make cities towns villages and rural areas more livable for residents of all ages. AARP allows for a wide range of eligible project types through this grant process including public spaces transportation mobility options housing options digital connections civic engagement walkability and community gardens.

Just last year the AARP community challenge grant program invested in 310 projects through three different funding categories; Flagship Grants, Demonstration Grants, and Capacity Building Micro Grants.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants for the AARP Community Challenge grants include mainly government entities and 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits.


The AARP grants website provides not only the grant application portal but it also provides long list of past awardees and different project categories that were funded through previous funding cycles.

Check out this Q&A Webinar from last year’s grant cycle for more information:

Grants featured in Grant Spotlight posts are also on the Rural Resurrection Tool Kit page. For more grant opportunities, check out the Tool Kit page.