AARP’s Small Dollar, Big Impact Grants Return To Wyoming

Recipients Will Receive $1,000 For Quick Turnaround Efforts

AARP Wyoming is offering $1,000 grants to up to 10 non-profit or ad hoc organizations in the state through its Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant program.

The AARP Wyoming Small Dollar, Big Impact Grants will fund selected initiatives that recognize the assets and opportunities of our aging population with projects aimed at enhancing the livability of communities and helping create a better place for community residents to live, work, and play. 

The application period for the grant will run from Sept, 15 until Nov. 1 with awards being announced on Dec. 1. The grant program is open to organizations and grassroots ad hoc groups and involves a very brief online application process. 

“Our experience with the Small Dollar, Big Impact grants last year was very positive,” says AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “We were able to fund very meaningful projects that did a lot of good for not just our members, but citizens of all ages in Wyoming. We look forward to more of the same this year.”

Awards from the AARP Wyoming Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant program may be used to fund either a portion of an existing project or the entirety of the project submitted to AARP in the Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant application. Grant recipients must complete the project for which the grant was awarded within 90 days of the announcement of the grant award.

The program is open to the following types of entities:

  • 501(C)(3), 501(C)(4) and eligible 501(c)(6) nonprofits (determined on a case-by-case basis)
  • Government entities
  • Ad hoc community group with a 501 (c)(3) and 501 (c)(4) nonprofit fiscal agent 
  • Must be located within the State of Wyoming

Priority will be given to eligible non-profit organizations and grassroots groups that aim to improve one or more of the following “Eight Domains of Livability,” which include:

  • Outdoor Spaces and Public Places
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Respect and Social Inclusion
  • Work and Civic Engagement
  • Communication and Information• Community and Health Services

The following projects are NOT eligible for funding:

  • Partisan, political or election-related activities
  • Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities with follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • Acquisition of land and/or buildings
  • Sponsorships of other organizations’ events or activities
  • Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services

Last year, AARP Wyoming received 23 grant applications with 10 applicants receiving a $1,000 grant to be used towards a quick-turnaround project benefiting livability in local communities. 

Winners of the grants for 2020 were:

  • The Senior Center of Jackson Hole was successful in applying for AARP grant funds to install a bench at a bus stop near the Senior Center of Jackson Hole and senior housing complex in Jackson in 2018. However, the last two years, the bench has been knocked over by snow plows who were unable to see the bench due to deep snow. With its Small Dollar, Big Impact funding, The Senior Center of Jackson Hole will install bollards in front of the bench to prevent vehicles and snow plows from damaging the bench.


  • The Upton Chamber of Commerce plans to put its Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant funding to concrete benches at city park near the walking path and on the Highway 16 walking path. Benches may also be placed near frequently used business downtown such as the Post Office and grocery store. The locations were determined after chamber meetings with veterans, at the senior center, and with the City Council.


  • Sheridan County YMCA – Sheridan’s YMCA will use Small Dollar, Big Impact funds to purchase a rowing machine for the senior area of the YMCA. There is a rowing machine already at the YMCA, and is very popular with users of the YMCA as it offers strength training and cardio training with no impact stress. However, the existing machine is inaccessible for some who are unable or uncomfortable navigating the stairs required to reach the rowing machine.


  • The Cheyenne Tennis Association will offer a series of weekly clinics taught by a professional tennis coach and support staff, thanks to its Small Dollar, Big Impact grant funding. These free courses will be limited to those age 50+ and teach the basic elements of tennis, including ground strokes, scoring, and etiquette. Along with these elements instruction on the treatment and avoidance of injuries will be conducted by a physical therapist. Participants do not have to own a tennis racket, belong to the Cheyenne Tennis Association, or possess any other prerequisites.


  • Wyoming Health Fairs will use its grant funding to provide blood draw services to those who are home-bound. Wyoming Health Fairs have been offering blood draws for the last 35 years. More recently, The Kiwanis Club of Dubois and Wyoming Health Fairs have partnered in providing low cost blood screenings to the community of Dubois. Kiwanis, along with Dubois Clinic, will identify community members who are homebound. Those organizations will then work with WHF to facilitate the logistics to most efficiently carry out this project.


  • Participants of Community Action of Laramie County’s Kinship Program will be the beneficiary of a Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant. The program benefits older relative caregivers, such as grandparents raising their grandchildren. Thanks to the AARP grant funding, the Older Relative Caregiver program will purchase tokens to be used at Cheyenne’s Farmers Market by program participants. This will facilitate the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables.


  • The Wyoming Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has developed a project, Music for Memories, to bring favorite music to those with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia who live in one of Wyoming’s long-term care residences. The Wyoming Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association plans to pre-load MP3 players with music from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and provide these players to those living in long-term care memory care communities throughout Wyoming. One MP3 player would allow a memory care community with approximately 40 residents to give each resident 2-3 two-hour long sessions per week of music! With this grant, we could provide music fairly immediately to two residences. 


  • Star Valley Senior Center’s Salt River Center will use its grant funding to purchase picnic tables and umbrellas for the patio at the center. This will allow the senior center clients to socially distance while being social at the same time.


  • The Age-Friendly Laramie program and Eppeson Senior Center of Laramie will use its grant funds to help inform the public. Age-Friendly Laramie joined AARP’s network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2018 and recently completed a baseline community needs assessment in the summer of 2019. The assessment suggested a lack of a consolidated informational resource detailing available age-related resources and programs was an issue. This funding will help Age-Friendly Laramie to develop a visually-engaging and accessible brochure to distribute to homes in the community. 

For more information on the Small Dollar, Big Impact Grant, contact Tom Lacock at tlacock@aarp.org or 307-432-5802.