BY MIKE FESTA, STATE DIRECTOR, AARP MASSACHUSETTS
AARP Massachusetts has announced four Bay State organizations will receive 2021 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.2 million awarded among 244 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement quick-action projects to promote livable communities by improving housing, transportation, public spaces, civic engagement, and connection with family, friends, and neighbors with an emphasis on the needs of the 50-plus. Many of this year’s awards support revitalizing communities adversely impacted by the pandemic and include a focus on diversity, inclusion, and disparities.
We are incredibly proud to collaborate with these organizations as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change, especially for those age 50 and over. Our goal at AARP Massachusetts is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.
All projects are expected to be completed by November 10, 2021. Here in Massachusetts, projects funded are as follows:
- City of Boston The Boston Public Library will add locations to its free, 24-hour Outdoor Wi-Fi Program so people can access high-speed internet services through workstations located outside of library buildings.
- Urban Farming Institute of Boston The institute will build and install raised “Grow Boxes” for residents hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic so they can grow fresh, healthy food.
- City of Lynn The funded project will improve public access and amenities and provide arts and cultural programming at two downtown public spaces, enabling safe outdoor gatherings for the community’s diverse population of older adults.
- Clear Path for Veterans New England (Middlesex County) Challenge funds will help in the creation of Clear Path’s Memorial Courtyard, which will serve as an outdoor space “where Veterans, families, and the general public can reflect, remember and enjoy the enduring spirit of the United States Military.”
The Community Challenge 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 Massachusetts has awarded 12 grants and nearly $130,000 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.