AARP Awards Grants to Four Rhode Island Organizations as Part of Its Nationwide Program to Make Communities More Livable
PROVIDENCE, RI -- AARP Rhode Island today announced that four organizations throughout the state will receive 2022 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.4 million awarded among 260 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital access; and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.
“AARP Rhode Island is committed to working with communities to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said State Director Catherine Taylor. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for Rhode Islanders 50 and over.”
The Rhode Island projects:
Groundwork Rhode Island - $14,000 – Central Falls
This project will help transform an underutilized green space that currently serves high school youth into a place for residents of all generations to enjoy, through the installation of amenities such as seating and tables for dominos and chess.
Providence Streets Coalition – $12,574 – Providence
This project will bring neighbors together to collectively transform a parking lane into a temporary urban trail to assess safety, build community support, and inform the design for a permanent Green and Complete Streets redesign of Hope Street.
Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative - $10,278 - Woonsocket
This project will transform an outside location at the Aging Well senior center into a safe, inviting space for outdoor exercise as well as a gathering place for Woonsocket’s large over-55 community, making it visually appealing for improved physical and mental health opportunities.
Southside Community Land Trust- $8,000 - Providence
SCLT youth staff will continue to beautify outdoor spaces and cultivate herbs and vegetables for older adults in Providence to enjoy. They will also work with an artist to create a second cookbook that preserves seniors’ traditional recipes and stories.
“Groundwork Rhode Island is thrilled to receive an AARP Community Challenge grant,” said Executive Director Amelia Rose. “We are working closely with Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera to redesign a green space on Phillips Street and transform it into a beautiful, intergenerational, functional, and welcoming space for the entire community. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to support the City of Central Falls in improving its green spaces and building healthier communities!”
"We are so pleased to help seniors in our city become healthier and enjoy outdoor activities," said Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative Board Executives Adam Brunetti and Paulette Hamilton in a joint statement. Added Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, "Socialization and exercise are extremely important, and I am pleased we will be able to incorporate both in this new exercise area.” Barbara Waterman, Director of Aging Well Inc., thanked the City of Woonsocket and the Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative for “including our agency in their efforts to expand opportunities to seniors in the community."
"We are constantly working to engage community members to ensure that decisions made around mobility, transportation, and city infrastructure represent their needs," said PVD Streets Coalition lead organizer Liza Burkin. “That's what the Hope Street Temporary Trail project is all about –– allowing neighborhood residents and business owners a chance to experience a transformative street design change in 3D, interact with it, and give their informed feedback years ahead of a formal public process. AARP has been an incredible partner and a strong advocate for livable communities for its members. We are grateful for the AARP's continued commitment and support."
“We are so excited and appreciative of the opportunity to work with you and the elders of our beloved community,” said Southside Community Land Trust Youth Program Director Raffini told AARP Rhode Island. “The people in the surrounding areas have a chance to also experience and enjoy the beautification that your generous grant has afforded us to be able to plant gardens and create art that the whole community can enjoy!”
AARP Community Challenge grant projects will be funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. True to the program’s quick-action nature, projects must be completed by November 30, 2022.
This year, AARP is bolstering its investment of affordable and adaptable housing solutions in response to the national housing crisis. With additional funding support from Toyota Motor North America, the program is also increasing its support of projects that improve mobility innovation and transportation options.
The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. Since 2017, AARP has awarded nine grants and $120,993 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across Rhode Island.