LOS ANGELES–Children of Armenia Fund’s televised/virtual benefit “Moving Mountains” was held on December 5 this year in place of the organization’s annual holiday gala in New York City. The event raised over $4.5 million for COAF’s ongoing cutting-edge education, health, social and economic programs in 64 villages, along with its state-of-the-art SMART Center in the Lori region. Proceeds will also be used to build modular homes for displaced families from Artsakh who have found refuge in COAF beneficiary villages in Armenia.
The “Moving Mountains” benefit was broadcast on ARTN and USArmeniaTV. It was hosted by Araksya Karapetyan of Good Day L.A. on FOX 11 Los Angeles, COAF Senior Director of Development Haig Boyadjian, and world-renowned auctioneer Gabriel Butu. Musical performances this year included pop superstar Iveta Mukuchyan, and violinist Ara Malikian accompanied by pianist Serouj Kradjian, who paid tribute to the young fallen heroes from COAF villages who lost their lives recently during the attack on Artsakh. Other musical performances included Victoria and Liana Ulikhanyan from Armenia on violin and cello, and France-based vocalist Hakob Ghasabian.
Special appearances featured Andrea Martin, Serj Tankian, Sean Hayes, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Tina Fey, Mark Geragos, David Alpay, Martin Short, Victor Garber, Mary Basmadjian, Hovik Keuchkerian, Dr. Eric Esrailian, California State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, Lory Tatoulian, Ken Davitian, and Kev Orkian.
COAF has been at the forefront of rural development in Armenia and is committed to addressing the devastating consequences of the recent attack on Artsakh. COAF plans on securing temporary housing and integrating 2,000 displaced people from Artsakh into its programs and services by the end of 2020. After providing temporary housing, COAF will provide permanent housing to those who will not return to Artsakh and ensure they have access to education, healthcare, social and economic programs.
In his address, COAF Founder and Chairman Dr. Garo Armen highlighted the urgency of extending COAF’s mission to manage the current crisis in Armenia. “COAF is an organization with a crisis management DNA. We now face a new crisis to manage; 40,000 Armenians from Artsakh who have been left homeless. To face this crisis, we need to raise our annual fundraising target from $6 million last year to $20 million this year. We need to provide housing so that we can avoid the tragedy of a community of Armenians living in trailers (domiks) for decades like they have since the 1988 earthquake.”
Armenians worldwide are encouraged to watch and learn more about COAF’s work. The organization’s goal is to raise $5 million by year end and reach a total of $20 million by mid-year 2021.
The “Children of Armenia” Charitable Fund (COAF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that employs community-led approaches aimed at improving the quality of life in rural Armenia, with a particular focus on children and youth. COAF’s target development areas are education, healthcare, social and economic development. COAF launched its programs in 2004, starting in one village and expanding to 64 villages in Armavir, Aragatsotn, Lori, Gegharkunik, Shirak, and Tavush regions, impacting more than 107,000 beneficiaries.
Since 2015, COAF has developed and started implementing a new vision – SMART Initiative. COAF SMART is designed to advance a generation across the rural world through education that will benefit individuals, societies, and the environment. COAF SMART will become an exemplary model of development and will be replicated in other regions and communities throughout Armenia. The first COAF SMART Center was inaugurated on May 27, 2018, near the village of Debet, Lori Region.