Istanbul has been selected as one of the finalists of the 50 Champion Cities in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies, a global innovation competition to identify and accelerate the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19.
Accordingly, the city advances to the 4-month Champion Phase of the competition. Istanbul has joined the challenge with its Askida Fatura (Pay It Forward) initiative, a social support and solidarity project developed in response to the COVID-19-driven poverty.
This is a proud moment for Pay It Forward (Askida Fatura), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (IBB) largest-to-date social solidarity campaign in Istanbul, said IBB Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu. “I’m pleased to announce that out of 631 applicants, Istanbul has been selected as a finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2021 Global Mayors Challenge,” he said on this Twitter account.
The Askida Fatura initiative anonymously matches people burdened by unpaid utility bills and other needs, with those willing to cover them. The project introduces formality and transparency around private philanthropy and promotes urban solidarity.
15 of the 50 Champion Cities will win the USD 1m prize while they will receive a multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas.
“By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City.
The 50 finalist cities including Istanbul will refine their ideas with technical assistance of Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of innovation experts until October while the winners will be announced in early 2022.
The 50 Champion Cities submitted ideas addressing four of the most significant challenges borne of the pandemic: Economic Recovery & Inclusive Growth; Health & Wellbeing; Climate & Environment; and Good Governance & Equality.