BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The North Dakota branch of the AARP is asking local organizations and governments to apply for their 2023 Community Challenge grant program.

Since 2017, the AARP has awarded more than $12.7 million to over 1,060 projects (including 19 in ND) through this grant challenge. The program provides financial grants to communities across the US to help them become more ‘livable’ through the development of public spaces by improving housing, transportation, and more.

The program itself is part of the organization’s “Livable Communities” initiative — a program they hope to further by offering financial aid to those seeking to change their communities for the better.

“AARP North Dakota is committed to helping communities across the state become great places to live for people of all ages with an emphasis on people age 50 and older,” said AARP ND State Director Josh Askvig in a press release. “The Community Challenge has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing North Dakotans’ quality of life.”

In 2023, the Community Challenge is returning to the state with three different categories for new grant opportunities. The following is a list of these new and old categories, as well as what they entail for the grants to be received under them:

  • Flagship Grants are the original series of grants from the AARP, and are offered to those who seek to host projects that will improve public places, transportation, housing, diversity, equity, and inclusion for individuals over the age of 50. These grants also aid those seeking to promote digital connections, community health, civic engagement, community resilience, or economic empowerment.
  • Demonstration Grants are new for this year and are partially focused on transportation improvements (with aid from Toyota Motor North America). A second portion will be focused on promoting accessory dwelling units as a solution to housing problems.
  • Capacity-Building Microgrants are also new and are paired with extra resources, including coaching, web seminars, cohort learning opportunities, and more. Examples of these grants are associated with strategies to improve walkability in some areas or plans to start/expand a community garden.

The Community Challenge is open to eligible nonprofit organizations and government entities (all other organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis). The amount of money given out through these grants varies and can range from hundreds of dollars for smaller projects to tens of thousands for longer, more in-depth works. All projects submitted must be consistent with AARP’s mission to serve the needs of individuals 50 and older among other eligibility propaganda. The organization will prioritize proposals that are inclusive, address disparities, and directly engage volunteers who are age 50 or older.

The deadline to apply for a Community Challenge grant is 4:00 p.m. CST on March 15. All projects funded through the grant must be completed by November 30, 2023.

A free Q and A session for all applicants is also available, and scheduled for Thursday, February 8, at 1 p.m. CST. Registration for the meeting is available here.

In order to submit an application, and to view past grant recipients, visit this page on the AARP’s website.