The Hayastan All-Armenia Fund raised $11,109,633 last week in its 2018 annual Thanksgiving Day Telethon. This money will be allocated towards two programs in Nagorno-Karabakh, which were launched last year. The first of these programs is the drilling of wells and creation of a drip irrigation system in Artsakh. The second program will target the application of solar energy (link not found on the organization’s website). In recent years the fund has partly financed, among other things, the construction of the Vartenis-Mardakert Highway, a second route connecting Artsakh to Armenia. The 116-kilometer-long road was inaugurated last year.
Forty-five percent of the grand total raised this year was contributed by three individual donors. During the 12-hour program, which was broadcast internationally, a $2.5 million donation was announced by an individual who did not wish to be identified. Businessmen and long-time Armenia Fund supporters Antranig Baghdassarian and Albert Boyajian each donated $1 million.
The local organization in Brazil raised 30,000 US dollars and in Toronto 1.2 million Canadian dollars (USD 1 million) and 1,242,460 Euros in Europe.
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stopped by the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund headquarters in Yerevan on Friday morning and addressed a live appeal to telethon viewers encouraging them to support the fund’s activities.
He then announced two separate donations; the first, in the amount of one million AMD (~$2000) from the Prime Minister’s Funds and the second, a personal donation of half a million AMD.
Amounts raised in the past have varied from year-to-year, though in recent years, they have declined from what they once were. In 2008, the Fund reached its peak in donations, securing $35 million (the largest amount the fund has raised before or since). This year pulled in nearly $1 million more than the previous year (which raised a little over $10 million). This comes in spite of a scandal that unfolded earlier this year, in which the Armenia Fund’s then-executive director, Ara Vartanian resigned following his arrest for using the Fund’s money for online gambling and other “personal purposes.”
According to reports, he avoided persecution after re-compensating the charity for funds spent. Since then, Pashinyan’s government has pledged to help ensure greater transparency in its activities.
The Hayastan All Armenian Fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-governmental organization established, which has implemented over $350 million worth of projects in Karabakh and Armenia since being set up in 1992. The fund’s current Board of Trustees is headed by Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian and comprises Pashinian, other senior Armenian state officials, Catholicos Garegin II as well as prominent members of Armenian communities around the world.
The organization is continuing to accept online and telephone pledges for 2018.