AARP Arkansas invites local eligible organizations and governments across the state to apply for the2023 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through March 15 at 4 p.m. 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 be-come great places to live for all residents, especially those age 50and older.“ AARP Arkansas is committed to helping communities across the state become great places to live for people of all ages with an emphasis on the 50-plus population,” said Ashley McBride, State Director. “The Com-munity Challenge has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing the quality of life for Arkansans.” 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 ten over-coming 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 50and older along with other eligibility criteria. AARP will prioritize proposals that are inclusive, address dis-parities, and directly engage volunteers age 50 and older. New this year, the program will provide capacity-building microgrants paired with additional resources, such as one-on-one coaching, webinars, cohort learning opportunities and more for improving walkability and starting or expanding a community garden. Also new this year, the Community Challenge will also offer demonstration grants. A portion will be focused on transportation improvements with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America. Another portion of demonstration grants will focus on promoting greater awareness of the benefits of accessory dwelling units as a housing solution AARP will also offer grants under a flag-ship opportunity to support projects that improve public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital connections; community health and economic empowerment; and new this year community resilience; and civic engagement. Since 2017, AARP has awarded more than $12.7 million to over 1,060 projects – including 2022Arkansas grant winners Main Street Blytheville, City of Corning, Fayetteville Housing Authority, and Conway County Center for Exception-al Children ACTION Services – through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The pro-gram 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 dead-line is 4:00 p.m. Central, March 15, 2023.All projects must be completed by November 30, 2023. To submit an application and view past grantees, visitwww.AARP.org/Community Challenge. AARP Arkansas works in collaboration with communities across the state, bringing people together, and providing resources and expertise to help make Arkansas counties, towns and cities great places to live for people of all ages. Past Community Challenge Grants in the state have ranged from public art to creating more livable communities through curb ramps, as well as community park improvements that make natural spaces more accessible for those 50+.