Today, AARP announced six New York organizations will receive 2020 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest number of grantees to date with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Here in New York, projects funded include:
- Underground Railroad Education Center, Albany, will receive $17,500 to create an accessible indoor urban garden space for Our Sow We Grow Project, an intergenerational program that will provide year-round access to fresh produce. The greenhouse will be built on a reclaimed lot in the Arbor Hill neighborhood, where there is little access to fresh produce and gardening space.
- Preservation Buffalo Niagara, will receive $12,000 to launch an Adopt-a-Block program on Grant Street in Buffalo’s West Side. Despite the deep love for the street, litter and debris impede the sidewalk and the area is suffering due to COVID-19 economic challenges. The project will enable the organization to foster a communal stewardship for the street by providing garbage cans and other streetscaping projects, improving overall street sanitation and community health.
- Friends of Mosholu Parkland, the Bronx, will receive $5,000 to create an urban mural and expand a garden next to the Mosholu train station. The project will be called “Aquarium” to complement the existing garden that contains plants that look like they belong in an aquarium. There is a dense population of older adults who congregate in this diverse area and the project will add vibrancy and a green space, which will be used for future tai chi and meditation exercises.
- New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, New York City, will receive $30,000 to help make Chinatown more liveable by studying noise data collected as part of Project SHUSH (Sound Health in Underserved Neighborhoods). Noise affects communities’ quality of life and this will engage and empower a coalition of residents and others to collect, share and use data to tackle noise pollution. Activities, offered in both English and Chinese, will include an intergenerational Sound Walk and a community forum.
- United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, Poughkeepsie, will receive $10,000 to connect both older adults and students, groups that are both facing social isolation during the pandemic. The project will ask students to write encouraging notes or draw pictures for seniors. The project will also pair the students’ notes with hygiene items, PPE, cleaning supplies, food, and other essential needs items.
- LISC Buffalo, will receive $30,000 for the “Discover Your Neighborhood” project, which will combine strategies from creative placemaking, tactical urbanism, directional wayfinding, and walkability efforts to create a discovery map of cultural landmarks, nature and parks, transportation hubs, public art, and other important neighborhood anchors to reinvigorate communities during COVID-19 recovery and rebuilding.
“We are incredibly proud to collaborate with New York’s grantees as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” said AARP NY State Director Beth Finkel. “Our goal at AARP NY is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.”
All projects are expected to be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating the main streets.
- Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access a wider range of transportation choices.
- Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
- Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
- Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.
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. View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge and view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP NY’s livable communities work at www.aarp.org/livable.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.
To learn more, visit www.aarp.org