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San Juan, PR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: The Sila M. Calderon Foundation hosted 16 workshops with local entrepreneurs with the goal of strengthening small businesses, fostering job creation and increasing wages. The Foundation also offered technical assistance, hosted community outreach events and provided other resources. Thirty-five older adults completed the program and participating entrepreneurs received 119 hours of training from experts. Working with historically marginalized and underserved communities, the Foundation's mission is to achieve a more just and productive society in Puerto Rico by combatting poverty and inequality. Since 2018, the Foundation has helped create and support more than 650 small businesses and more than 1,000 new jobs.

Tigard, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: The City of Tigard hoped to create a business incubator to help local entrepreneurs test out their ideas. So the City launched its Tigard on Roll Program, purchasing two food trucks outfitted with commercial restaurant equipment. Startup food vendors can apply to lease the trucks at a reduced rate, and the City provides coaching from business advisors. The trucks -- which sit in Tigard's new Universal Plaza -- also offer an important amenity to residents of downtown. The incubator program specifically targets entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities, which it supports by reducing start-up costs and offering mentorship. Today, residents can find the trucks at a weekly farmers market and at the annual Taste of Tigard food festival.

Augusta, GA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project set out to create vendor stalls near the Jessye Norman School of the Arts building, with the goal of holding regular artists markets. The school purchased benches and kiosks for participating vendors to display their goods. The school then held a street market where artists could sell their work. Organizers say they plan to expand the market in the future and hope it will become a regular event, increasing foot traffic and economic activity in the neighborhood.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Jersey City, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: To give residents at Marion Gardens the opportunity to gather, project organizers beautified a concrete area onsite. Residents of the public housing complex came together to plant trees, shrubs and flowers in an area of the property prone to flooding, with the new foliage acting as green infrastructure to absorb rainwater. To ensure care of the new trees long-term, project organizers also created a tree maintenance manual with pruning techniques and other tips. Since the planting, organizers have worked to plan a mural at the site.

Jersey City, NJ

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Digital navigation skills

Description: The Jersey City Housing Authority aimed to use technology to reduce social isolation and improve community connections at one of its age-restricted public housing complexes. The Authority a created a computer lab onsite, outfitting the space with desktop computers and a printer. To help residents use the technology, they Authority worked with partners to host one-on-one and small group digital literacy training in Spanish and English. Topics included computer and internet basics, email and digital art and design. Additionally, the Authority installed voice-activated smart home devices in individual apartments. Since introducing the new technology, the Authority has also worked to ensure residents have access to reliable broadband internet service.

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