Current Projects

AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation is AARP’s charitable affiliate, focused on helping win back opportunity for struggling 50+ individuals and their families. Drive to End Hunger is AARP Foundation’s nationwide initiative to raise awareness and develop long-term, sustainable solutions to hunger among nearly 9 million older adults.

Statistics indicate that approximately 12 percent of all Native Americans living in poverty are age 55 or older. Additionally, Native American seniors often suffer from higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illnesses. The AARP Foundation contributed $187, 660 to improve the health and nutrition of Native American seniors.

The following four organizations received funding in 2014 to increase food access and eliminate food insecurity among Native seniors:

Painted Desert Demonstration Project / The STAR School, Flagstaff, Arizona, $25,000

This project will devise and demonstrate a model that links community-based farms with local schools and senior centers. The goals are to provide elders a local source of nutritious, traditional foods at senior centers and intergenerational gatherings; decrease social isolation of elders through monthly celebrations featuring traditional Navajo foods, elder storytelling and cooking demonstrations. The project will serve the Navajo communities of Leupp and Tolani Lake, Arizona.

Pueblo of Tesuque, Santa Fe, New Mexico, $25,000

This project will connect youth and elders through a healthy traditional foods program that concentrates on honoring and preserving elder knowledge regarding food, seeds and agricultural traditions. Elders and youth will work together to prepare and store seeds, cultivate traditional gardens, harvest in traditional ways, and preserve and prepare traditional foods. The program will include an educational component for both youth and elders, and will provide healthy foods and preparation instructions for families.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, North Dakota, $25,000

The Nutrition for the Elderly Program will further develop and enhance current tribal food initiatives such as the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and the tribe’s Native Gardens Project. Community gardens will provide freshly grown fruits, vegetables and herbs for meals and nutrition education courses will expand knowledge of healthy food preparation and eating.

College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin, $25,000

The Gardens for Elders project will benefit elders from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, located on the Menominee Reservation in Keshena. Gardens for Elders is an intergenerational, community-based project that focuses on helping elders grow fresh, healthy food sources in their own yards with assistance from youth in various tribal programs. The college intends to build a sustainable elder food-system model that brings together multiple community resources to ensure Menominee elders have locally grown, healthy food sources readily available to them.

In 2012 First Nations awarded $100,000 to four Native food-system projects.

Sipaulovi Development Corporation, Arizona – $25,000

Sipaulovi will work to ensure elder food security by reclaiming locally controlled food systems based on traditional knowledge, contemporary practices, and coming together for the common good. Activities will focus on restoring seed and water sources, reviving community farming and gardening, and growing, processing and sharing food in the traditional manner. The gardens will be a reliable source of healthy food for elders. Sipaulovi is a self-governing Hopi village founded in the early 1700s on Second Mesa, Arizona. Of the 900 village residents, 28% are elders over 55, while 40% are youth up to age 18.

Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico – $25,000

Santo Domingo Pueblo will implement a traditional farming program to engage seniors, farmers and youth in the community. Through the purchase and development of a greenhouse, the seniors will plant and cultivate traditional crops. The seniors will work directly with youth on a weekly basis to provide traditional education around the interrelationship of agriculture and various cultural practices, including songs, dances and prayers. The seedlings cultivated in the greenhouse will be sold to community members and transplanted by elders and youth in a community field, where programming will continue throughout the summer and fall. At harvest time, elders and youth will work together to harvest crops for sale at local farmers markets and convenience stores.

Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico – $25,000

The Pueblo of Nambe’s Community Farm Project will use its local resources of land, water and sun to revitalize traditional agricultural knowledge while aiming to end food insecurity among seniors in the community. The Pueblo of Nambe’s project has four main components: the construction of a hoop-house, management of a program called “Inventory of Surplus,” establishment of a Senior Food Distribution Service, and the formation and operation of a food database. They hope that their efforts will not only help eliminate food insecurity among the Native senior population but also foster community involvement in food production and distribution.

Ponca Tribe, Oklahoma – $25,000

The Ponca Tribe will raise natural pork and provide it to tribal elders by way of its local food-distribution program and senior citizen center. The tribe will provide land for the venture, and the pork will be raised so as to ensure no hormones or other growth aids are used.

About the AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is a charitable affiliate of AARP.  Learn more at