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Community grants awarded to eight Maine organizations


PORTLAND – AARP Maine last week announced that eight Maine organizations will receive 2021 Community Challenge grants – part of the largest group of grantees to date.

About $3.2 million has been awarded among 244 organizations nationwide.

Grantees will implement quick-action projects to promote livable communities by improving housing, transportation, public spaces, civic engagement, and connection with family, friends, and neighbors with an emphasis on the needs of the 50-plus. Many of this year’s awards support revitalizing communities adversely impacted by the pandemic and include a focus on diversity, inclusion, and disparities.

“We are incredibly proud to collaborate with these organizations as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change, especially for those age 50 and over,” Noël Bonam, AARP Maine State Director, said. “Our goal at AARP Maine is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”

All projects are expected to be completed by November 10.

The Maine projects include:

The Congo Craftsmen, Bethel—Working with the six communities that are a part of the age-friendly initiative in the Bethel area, this project will construct and place benches to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.

Portland Downtown, Portland— The project will use door murals and other techniques to create active, welcoming, and safe spaces in unused alleyways.

The Age-Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec, Bath—The project will place community chess sets and benches in downtown Bath and host an intergenerational chess tournament.

Town of Sullivan, Sullivan—The project will build an accessible trail to encourage people of all ages to walk safely and enjoy nature in age-friendly Sullivan.

Town of Wayne, Wayne—Working with their town government, the Age-Friendly team in Wayne will install pedestrian crossing signs with flashing beacons to make walking safer for everyone.

Age-Friendly Readfield, Readfield—The project will develop pedestrian pathways between the center of town at the Library, Beach, and Food Pantry and create a vibrant and socially engaged community. 

Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition of Maine, South Portland—The project will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety by increasing crosswalk visibility and installing high visibility signage at selected crosswalks.

Age-Friendly Freeport, Freeport— The group will sponsor an accessible hot air balloon ride for people of all abilities to enjoy at a town-side festival. 

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages.

Since 2017, AARP Maine has awarded 24 grants and $128,925 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.

View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. To learn more, visit

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