Two Mississippi organizations awarded AARP grants to create more livable communities

Two Mississippi organizations will receive AARP 2020 Community Challenge grants.

It’s part of the largest number of grantees to date with more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide.  The grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Here in Mississippi, the projects include:

Mississippi Faith-Based Coalition in Jackson will use a $20,000 grant to turn overgrown vacant neighborhood lots into community gardens, provide benches and public art, and spruce up homes by providing residents with paint and pressure washing services to restore the beauty of their older homes.

Bennie Hudson, Executive Director of the Mississippi Faith-Based Coalition, said, “This AARP Community Challenge Grant will help us create a common space where people of all generations can feel welcome and safe.  It will make the community look much better for residents of all ages and help connect older residents and younger people.”

Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Greenville will use a $6,000 grant to place fencing and hoop houses in a community garden that will supply fresh produce to low and moderate-income families. The supplies will allow produce to be grown year-round.

Reverend Albert Hines, Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church says, “The AARP Community Challenge Grant will help us develop a community garden to support Greenville residents who are seeking healthy food for their families, especially during the pandemic.  The garden will be an ongoing food source for the community.”

All projects are expected to be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access to a wider range of transportation choices.
  • Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
  • Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
  • Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Mississippi’s grantees as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change,” said AARP Mississippi State Director Kimberly L. Campbell, Esq. “Our goal at AARP Mississippi is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities and the coronavirus pandemic has only underscored the importance of this work.”

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages.