Click here to learn about the 2024 AARP Community Challenge — and apply by March 6, 2024.

See More Grantees Like This One

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, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: To support the local economy in Portland's St. John's district, the City's Office of Planning and Sustainability launched a volunteer businesses ambassador program. City staff trained volunteers to act as boosters, who helped local businessowners connect with one another. They developed a business inventory and organized focus groups with residents -- including older adults -- to create a civic engagement framework. Project organizers also engaged in placemaking efforts to increase foot traffic. One such project involved creating a mural in the nearby Albina neighborhood. The artwork depicts residents of all ages spending time in a local park. Additionally, the boosters developed plans for a new pocket park.

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.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Grantees

Medford, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Lifelong housing and accessibility

Description: Recent wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic compounded a growing homelessness crisis in Medford. Part of a statewide initiative to expand non-congregate emergency shelter services, Rogue Retreat worked to convert the 47-room Redwood Inn into transitional housing. This project made accessibility upgrades to a single-room-occupancy unit on the property. Rogue Retreat hired an architect to design features including a zero-step entranceway, ADA-compliant handrails in the unit's bathroom and accessible features for the kitchenette. The upgrades allow Rogue Retreat to provide shelter for unhoused individuals of all ages and abilities, giving them needed stability as they search for permanent housing.

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