Deadline approaches for $7,500 association legacy award

Associations who can demonstrate how their meetings  – past, future or present –  are benefiting wider society have a week left to compete for a $7,500 cash prize.

BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA are issuing a final call for submissions to their Incredible Impacts programme, which was established five years ago.

This year the programme, which champions collaboration and shines a light on associations delivering lasting societal change, has broadened its entry criteria.

Associations planning future events with a strategic focus on legacy, are invited to apply, as well as those reporting on results retrospectively. And, for the first time, applicants who have successfully delivered virtual and hybrid events have an opportunity to compete for a grant.

Three winners will be selected by a group of independent judges and unveiled at the ICCA Congress taking place from 24-27 October 2021 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Lesley Williams, managing director of BestCities Global Alliance said: “With only a week remaining before applications close for 2021, we encourage associations to submit nominations or their own applications.  In a year when everyone has felt isolation and uncertainty, our programme provides a platform to come together and celebrate successes in the face of adversity.

“We wanted to ensure that as many organisations as possible could be in with a chance of accessing grant funding and appreciate the value that funding may offer associations in the planning stages of future projects.  This year, we expanded the entry criteria in line with the new world we’re living in to ensure a fully inclusive platform for industry support and collaboration.”

Senthil Gopinath, CEO, ICCA, added: “Cancellations and postponements of international events because of the pandemic caused much more than simple loss of revenue and job losses in our industry. The “vacuum” in knowledge transfer, advancing science and bettering local communities will have a long-lasting impact on societies. It is therefore paramount for face to face meetings to return as soon as safely possible and contribute towards the future sustainable development of destinations and communities.”


World Physiotherapy was one of the first Incredible Impacts winner following its congress in Cape Town in 2017.  The association was recognised for bridging knowledge gaps between low and high income countries.  Holding the congress in Africa saw 26.5% of delegates attend from local communities, compared to just 3.6% of them attending the event when it was held in Singapore in 2015.  A public outreach healthy living initiative, Shoes2Move! also saw funds raised to buy trainers for those unable to afford them.  The grant funding was used to bring speakers from low resource countries to the future congress in Geneva, continuing the theme of inclusivity, breaking down income barriers and knowledge sharing globally.

Tracy Bury, deputy chief executive officer of World Physiotherapy, comments on the lasting impact of hosting the congress, following reports from the host organisation, the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP).  She says, “Through extensive and ongoing collaboration with SASP in the run up to, during and in the years following our 2017 Congress, there is now a greater connection between local physiotherapists and the global profession.

“More have been inspired to present and attend future events, and what’s more, the congress was also a springboard for two public health outreach initiatives to get the population moving – an exercise programme for the community, in partnership with the public health department, and a physical activity brain break programme in schools.  These have since been expanded beyond Cape Town to the rest of the country.”



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