$9,856,100. This was the amount displayed at the conclusion of Armenia Fund’s 2019 annual telethon on Thanksgiving Day, with an announcement that the fund-raising process would continue.
The 22nd Armenia Fund Telethon was held under the slogan “To my beloved Armenia: Water and Sun for Communities,” which aims to supply drinking water to rural areas in Armenia and bolster the use of solar energy capabilities in Armenia.
The Telethon lasted 12 hours, with the first four hours being broadcast live from Yerevan, and the remaining eight hours were broadcast from Los Angeles. The funds raised will be used for implementing drinking water supply and solar energy projects in Artsakh and in three provinces of Armenia – Lori, Shirak and Tavush. Overall, more than 100 communities will become program beneficiaries and will be provided with daily water supply, free heating and energy.
Azatutyun.am reported that Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan made the largest donation worth $1.5 million. This raised to around $25 million the total amount of his financial contributions to Armenia Fund. Another $200,000 was contributed by Samvel Aleksanyan, one of Armenia’s wealthiest businessmen.
Last year the Telethon raised $11,109,633.
Speaking during a live broadcast, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia Fund will become more effective if many people start making small donations rather major donations by limited number of people. He called on five million people to enroll in Armenia Fund’s monthly giving program, which collects around $20 a month from donors who sign up for the effort.
“If five million Armenians donate $200 per year or $20 per month to the Hayastan fund we will have $1.25 billion annually,” said Pashinyan.
Pashinyan challenged Armenian-American entertainers and entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian, Kim Kardashian-West and Serj Tankian, saying that he had enrolled in the effort by contributing 10,000 drams a month.
Tankian and Ohanian heeded Pashinyan’s call and on social media announced their intentions and challenged others to follow suit.
“I hereby accept the challenge by PM of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to donate $23/mo to the All Armenia Fund and in turn challenge @esrailian @vaheberberian and @angelasarafyan to meet this challenge. Feel free to join the challenge and challenge others to do the same. We can do more with larger numbers of people donating less than a small group donating more.#allarmeniafundchallenge,” Tankian wrote on his Facebook page.
“You got it,@NikolPashinyan,” Ohanian simply tweeted.