See More Projects Like This One

Charlotte, NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Access to high-speed internet

Description: Work-from-home protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the digital divide between those with high-speed internet access at home and those without a fast connection. To bridge that rift, the North End Community Coalition began a Wi-Fi lending program. The initiative allows residents to borrow tablets and hotspot devices for up to three weeks at no cost. In addition, the coalition partnered with local schools to provide hotspots and tablets to students. To bring connectivity to Charlotte's older residents, the coalition also wired two local senior apartment complexes for free Wi-Fi access. NECC has continued to work toward greater digital access by offering technology training. In 2022, the organization hosted an event with the Center for Digital Equity where North End residents received free laptops, met with digital navigators and had the option to sign up for reduced-cost internet service.

Chicago, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Access to high-speed internet

Description: To bridge the digital divide for those living nearby, the North Lawndale Employment Network installed a Wi-Fi tower on the roof of its new building. Providing free internet is an important step toward increased livability in North Lawndale -- the neighborhood ranks among the bottom three in Chicago for broadband access. In addition, 45 percent of households live below the federal poverty limit and many lack internet access at home. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NLEN had to transition many of its services to an online format. NLEN has since been selected as a participant in the Chicago Connected initiative, which connects local public school students with internet access and digital education. To bolster its efforts, the organization hired a digital literacy specialist and hopes to operate a lending library with laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots in the future.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Wichita, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Engaging residents in vibrant public places

Description: The Wichita Public Library and Bike Walk Wichita launched three historical walking tours, which can be accessed through a smartphone app. It's all about inspiring curiosity in people about their hometown. According to Jeff Flor of the Downtown Development Corporation, Wichita has a lot of stories to tell, from the drugstore sit-in during the Civil Rights movement to the now-gone Victory Arch honoring World War I soldiers. To promote the app, library staff and volunteers participated in an open streets festival while wearing t-shirts with the message Ask me how to travel time.

Halstead, KS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: This project will install benches, bench swings and concrete artwork to encourage intergenerational engagement and provide places for rest and conversation along walking paths and in a community garden.

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