MADISON, WI – Today, AARP Wisconsin announced five organizations throughout the state will receive a combined $62,300 in 2022 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.4 million awarded among 260 organizations nationwide.


Grantees in Wisconsin and across the country will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity & inclusion; digital access; and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.


“AARP Wisconsin is committed to working with communities to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Martha Cranley. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities that will jumpstart long-term change, especially for Wisconsinites 50 and over. Our goal is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”


In Wisconsin, grants will be awarded to two organizations in Milwaukee and one each in La Crosse, Viroqua, and Bayfield. Here are details of each project:


The City of Milwaukee Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation’s Healing Spaces Initiative (HSI) will receive $25,000 to repurpose vacant lots into vibrant public spaces for rest, relaxation and community gatherings for activities such as yoga sessions or health workshops. The spaces will be used by those age 50-plus and others in support of ecological, economic, and public health benefits. They will be designed to create a sense of comfort for everyone and will include amenities such as perennial herb gardens, benches and signposting for guided meditation.


Milwaukee Turners, Inc. – Will receive a $15,000 grant to fund a series of offerings that will encourage community engagement, physical movement and healthy eating habits for older adults. Participants will have the opportunity to go on walking tours in three diverse Milwaukee neighborhoods, culminating in cooking demonstrations for healthy simple meals, using ingredients found in the neighborhood, with the goal of encouraging healthy movement and eating habits. They will also receive a one-year membership to the Milwaukee Turners, which includes use of its gym facilities, to encourage physical activity all year round.


La Crosse Public Library – Will receive a $10,000 grant for its Tool Library Project, which will give patrons the opportunity to check out home improvement and gardening tools. The Tool Library will also provide educational opportunities and a space to share and grow community knowledge. The project was proposed to enable community members to start making their own repairs in the wake of rising home prices. The goal of the project is to remove the burden of expense and provide the tools and resources residents need to make their own homes and outdoor spaces more livable.


McIntosh Memorial Library – Will receive a $10,000 grant to install a bird aviary at the library in Viroqua. The reading and gathering area inside the library will be redesigned to make the aviary they centerpiece of the space. Bird-watching stimulates cognitive alertness and awareness of details. It relieves stress and soothes anxiety for those with cognitive challenges. The aviary will provide the community with the opportunity to learn, gather, socialize, and meet new people inside the comfort of their own public library.


Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands – Will receive a $2,300 grant to install a bike parking facility at Beaver Hollow, a popular community nature area, to accommodate and encourage bicycles as a healthy transportation option to access this outdoor recreation area frequented by older adults in the Bayfield area. The facility will provide a much-needed secure location for bikes and will encourage use of this alternate mode of eco-friendly transportation. Once bike parking is available, senior groups, cycling clubs, and multi-generational families will regularly engage in trips to this nature area.


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 Nov. 30, 2022.


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.


This is the sixth year of the Community Challenge Grant. Wisconsin communities that have received these grants in previous years include: Appleton, Ashland, Bayfield, Beaver Dam, Berlin, Chilton, Cuba City, Deer Park, Ellsworth, Gays Mills, Green Bay, Greendale, Goodman, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oconomowoc, Sheboygan, and Spooner.


View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at

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