Community Challenge Grants Promote Livable Cities

Calif. Cities, Civic Groups Have Until Apr. 1 to Apply
Residents cut the ribbon on Golden Age Park in Los Angeles in November. The park was built in part with funds from the AARP Community Challenge grant program. Photo Credit: Nacho Mora

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Projects that promote livability for people of all ages may be eligible for thousands of dollars in grants as part of the Community Challenge grant program from AARP. The program, now in its fourth year, has funded 13 projects across California so far.

Tori Kjer, executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, said the grant allowed her group to put the finishing touches on Golden Age Park in the city’s dense, urban Westlake neighborhood last year.

“The grant allowed us to bring in exercise equipment, barbecues, picnic tables, supportive walking paths,” she said, and “really supported all the amenities that went in to make the park the beautiful, accessible space that it is for the community.”

The park is next to a senior center and affordable housing, so the paths, play equipment and community garden were designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Groups, towns or agencies can apply for the grants now through April 1 at

Jennifer Berdugo, associate state director of AARP California, said the winning projects will have shown that they can increase civic engagement, create vibrant public places, deliver transportation and mobility options, support availability of a range of housing, demonstrate the value of “smart cities” or improve livability.

“Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand or tens of thousands for larger projects,” she said.