Fellow Since 2014
This profile was prepared when Itir Erhart was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Seeing an opportunity in this disconnect between citizens and NGOs, Itır and Renay joined forces to build a platform that would close this gap and empower both groups to make strategic and effective interventions in solving Turkey’s urgent problems. They decided to use a model that they were familiar with from abroad, yet remained totally unknown in the Turkish context. Taking the familiar model of fundraising through endurance sports such as running, swimming and biking, and adapting it to local customs, they managed to create a movement of role model citizens and NGOs convinced to create social change. In less than 4 years, what started with 5-6 runners has become a 3500 member platform, attracting 34.000 individual donors to make an average of 150 TL (65 USD) donations, raising over 1 million TL (444.000 USD) that gets distributed to 7-8 NGOs per year. The scale Adım Adım has reached becomes even more meaningful when compared to other local initiatives: the amount of funds they raise and grant to NGOs annually equals those of the country’s leading industrialists’ foundations, while their number of volunteers and donors exceed 99% of all NGOs in Turkey.