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Portland, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: Following COVID-19 shutdowns, Alberta Main Street wanted to encourage residents to visit small businesses in the Alberta District. To increase foot traffic in the neighborhood, they hosted a series of community events. Christmas, Halloween and other holiday-themed gatherings drew large crowds to the district. Additionally, they launched a monthly Last Thursday series, which showcased local artists' work and offered activities for families with children. Organizers worked to ensure each event celebrated the neighborhoods' diversity and culture, as well as its African American business owners. Alberta Main Street hopes future events help shield legacy businesses from displacement. In the future, they are also planning a grant program to help owners historically overlooked by traditional lenders.

Portland, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project piloted an age-friendly business designation in Portland. The designation encourages local businesses to adopt practices that accommodate older adult customers. Participating businesses receive a certificate, as well as window decals advertising their status as an age-friendly business. Additionally, the Ramp Up for Accessibility project provided portable ramps and wireless doorbells to locations that are open to the public.

NC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project created a toolkit to grow local tourism along the Main-to-Main Trail. The trail winds across North Carolina, connecting more than 60 Main Street communities to showcase public art and murals, local food and cultural history and experiences. North Carolina Main Street hoped to build capacity among participating communities, helping them identify their assets and create an economic development strategy. To do this, they created a template for a tourism itinerary, which visitors can follow to find local attractions. They also developed a playbook for affective social media marketing. Since publishing the toolkit, the Rural Planning center has provided guidance on photography, videography and destination writing. Additionally, they are helping local small businessowners to better serve tourists.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Tacoma, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Many families in Tacoma struggle to access fresh, nutritious food. To allow residents to harvest vegetables in their own neighborhoods, Food is Free planted garden plots throughout the city. Organizers installed raised garden beds in residents' front yards, in tree boxes and in the public right-of-way along the city's sidewalks. Food is Free ensured the gardens met the City's code requirements. Each garden produces about 100 pounds of produce annually. Gardeners get to keep a fifth of their harvest, with the rest offered to residents during food share events held in a local park. In addition to increasing food access, project organizers say the effort helped participants -- including older adults -- become more engaged with one another.

Tacoma, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2024

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project will provide formerly incarcerated older adults with digital and financial literacy training, employment services and food assistance, with the goal of fostering livable communities and preventing recidivism.

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