WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Executive Committee of the Armenia Tree Project (ATP) recently announced the addition of Julia Mirak Kew to its advisory board and the hiring of Tom Garabedian as managing director.
“As the scope and complexity of ATP’s work has increased over the past several years, the Executive Committee has recognized the need to broaden its management team. These changes are intended to develop and strengthen a management group that is capable of handling the growth and challenges that ATP will face in the future,” noted Executive Committee member Anthony Barsamian.
Mirak Kew joins ATP’s founder and chairperson Carolyn Mugar, Nancy Kricorian, and Anthony Barsamian on the organization’s Executive Committee. She played an instrumental role in the Mirak family’s decision to make a leadership pledge to ATP in 2005, when her family made a major commitment to underwrite the establishment and operation of a large-scale reforestation nursery in the Lori region of northern Armenia.
“My father Bob, sister Jennifer, and I were looking for an organization that was working in Armenia on a larger scale, and we identified ATP as a good match for the John Mirak Foundation established by my grandfather,” Kew explained. “We especially liked the fact that ATP’s programs have a direct impact on the neediest people in Armenia, especially children who are the beneficiaries of their tree planting and environmental education programs.”
ATP established the Mirak Family Reforestation Nursery in Margahovit Village in 2005, and the annual operation of this program has been funded by the Mirak family. The nursery was inaugurated in honor of John and Artemis Mirak during a visit by Dr. Robert Mirak and his sister Muriel Mirak-Weissbach in 2008.
“Our family recognized that ATP’s work is restoring the environment but it’s more than just planting trees. ATP is changing people’s lives through its job creation and poverty reduction programs, and we know this is something my grandparents would value since they always taught us to give back,” recalled Kew, whose grandparents were genocide survivors from Arapkir.
Mirak Kew is vice president of Mirak Properties, a family business that focuses on real estate management and development in the Greater Boston area. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College and an MBA from Babson College. She is a member of the Armenian International Women’s Association.
The John Mirak Foundation supports a number of charitable and education institutions in the town of Arlington and in the Armenian community including the Armenian Cultural Foundation, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School, St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Armenian Heritage Park. Mirak Kew has two daughters, Christina and Alexandra.
Tom Garabedian’s new role as managing director will include program oversight, staff development, and finance. The addition of Garabedian will enable ATP Director Jeff Masarjian to focus on development and special projects. “Jeff has been critical to ATP’s development over the past 11 years, and we are counting on him to extend ATP’s mission in the area of environmental advocacy, working with our major funders, and planning special projects such as recognition of ATP’s 20th anniversary in 2014,” said Barsamian.
Garabedian worked as a consulting actuary with Hewitt Associates, retiring in January 2011. He has a degree in mathematics from Bowdoin College, is a member of the Hopkinton Zoning Board of Appeals, and is chair of Hopkinton Commissioners of Trust Funds. Garabedian is one of the founding family members of the Armenian Church of the Holy Translators in Framingham, and is a trustee of the Armenian Church Endowment Fund. He is married to the former Dora Verne Kishibay, and they have three sons, Deran, Berj, and Gregory.
ATP’s mission is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the environment, guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem. ATP’s three major programs are tree planting, environmental education, and sustainable development initiatives.
For more information about ATP, visit www.armeniatree.org.