Maui News

AARP Hawaiʻi accepting applications for 2023 community grant challenge

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The 2023 AARP Community Challenge is for quick-action projects that help communities become more livable, especially for people 50 and older.

AARP Hawaiʻi invites eligible organizations and governments in Maui County to apply for the 2023 AARP Community Challenge grant program, now through March 15.

Grants are for quick-action projects that help communities become more livable by improving public spaces, transportation, housing, civic engagement, diversity and inclusion.

The program is in its seventh year and 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 all residents, especially those aged 50 and older.


Last year in Maui County, the Molokaʻi Guzeiji Soto Mission and Krause Family Foundation ʻAlana Ke Aloha received $11,500 to set up a WiFi hotspot at the mission to help rural residents go online. The hotspot is also being used to teach kūpuna how to use their smart phones and other devices to go online.

“The Community Challenge has proven that quick-action projects can lead to long-lasting improvements enhancing the quality of life for Hawaiʻi residents,” said Kealiʻi Lopez, AARP Hawaiʻi State Director.

Previous Community Challenge grants have led to impressive results with nearly half of grantees leveraging their projects into additional funding support from private and public sector partners and eight in 10 overcoming barriers and advancing change.


In 2023, the AARP Community Challenge is accepting applications across three different grant opportunities, two of which are new this year. All projects must be consistent with AARP’s mission to serve the needs of people 50 and older along with other eligibility criteria. AARP will prioritize proposals that are inclusive, address disparities, and directly engage volunteers age 50 and older.

  • New this year, the program will provide capacity-building microgrants paired with additional resources, such as one-on-one coaching, webinars, cohort learning opportunities and more for improving walkability, and starting or expanding a community garden.
  • Also new this year, the Community Challenge will also offer demonstration grants. A portion will be focused on transportation improvements with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America. Another portion of demonstration grants will focus on promoting greater awareness of the benefits of accessory dwelling units as a housing solution.
  • AARP will also offer grants under a flagship opportunity to support projects that improve public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity and inclusion; digital connections; community health and economic empowerment; and, new this year, community resilience; and civic engagement.

Since 2017, AARP has awarded more than $12.7 million to 1,060 projects through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

In Hawaiʻi, 20 projects have received $234,366 to improve and create parks; beautify urban areas; bring mobile, live theatre to the Big Island; encourage bicycle sharing by older residents; make streets safer; and generally make communities more livable. The program provides direct support to all community types, including rural, suburban and urban communities with a special focus on the needs of those 50 and older.


The Community Challenge is open to eligible nonprofit organizations and government entities. Other types of organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to tens of thousands for larger projects.

The application deadline is 11 a.m. HST on March 15, 2023. All projects must be completed by Nov. 30, 2023. To submit an application and view past grantees, visit


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