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15 Haziran 2021


Istanbul among 50 Champion Cities Selected to Advance in Global Innovation Competition Uncovering Most Transformative Urban Solutions to Emerge During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Istanbul Enters Four-Month Testing Phase with Support from Bloomberg Philanthropies

Istanbul is one of 50 Champion Cities selected today as finalists in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a global innovation competition that identifies and accelerates the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These 50 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 630 applications from 99 countries, in the first-ever Global Mayors Challenge. Istanbul is taking part in the Challenge with its Pay It Forward (Askıda Fatura) project, an alternative social-support and solidarity model devised in response to rising COVID-induced poverty.

As a Mayors Challenge finalist, Istanbul now advances to the four-month Champion Phase of the competition. From June through October, the 50 finalist cities will refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts. Fifteen of the 50 cities will ultimately win the grand prize, with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas. Grand Prize Winners will be announced in early 2022.

In a tweet, Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul said, “A proud moment for Pay It Forward (Askıda Fatura), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's largest-to-date social solidarity campaign in Istanbul. I’m pleased to announce that out of 631 applicants, Istanbul has been selected as a finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2021 Global Mayors Challenge.”

“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “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.”

With its project Pay It Forward, Istanbul proposes an alternative social-support and solidarity model devised in response to rising COVID-induced poverty. The program 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.

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. A prestigious selection committee co-chaired by Bloomberg Philanthropies board member Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments, and David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee, assessed the applications to determine the Champion City finalists.