BY PATTYL APOSHIAN KASPARIAN
I gazed at the tweed black and white jacket eyeing the three shiny silver buttons inscribed with the storied double C’s. I felt the brilliant heaviness that envelops you like armor as I delicately wore the jacket I’ve seen featured on the inside covers of glossy magazines. Nonchalantly glancing at the price tag, I smiled at the salesperson and slipped the jacket back on its velvet hanger.
It doesn’t stop with a designer jacket. We all have obsessions. Better yet, we have wants that carry a hefty price tag. From the newest Ann Demeulemeester button down to a box of fresh Cohiba cigars to adding another Patek Philippe watch to a cherished collection, we can count endless ways to spend money.
I’ve come to realize that no consumer purchase or paid experience can make one stand taller, feel younger and more beautiful than to make a difference in the life of others. A philanthropist is a person who gives money or things of value (time, talent, resources) to help the betterment of others. Philanthropy revitalizes people. I’m at my happiest when I’m productive and involved with an organization that works to advance the Armenian Cause on all grounds.
In our organization, philanthropy is not defined merely by the number of zeroes behind a donation. The Armenian Cultural Foundation places its highest value on its human capital. It goes above and beyond signing on the dotted lines. Our supporters donate money, time, proficiency and passion.
The reason why hundreds of thousands of Armenians continue to embrace our organization is because our human capital does not rotate like Baskin Robbin’s Flavor of the Month. Our volunteers and donors have been an integral part of our organization for years. They are permanent, long life partners at our side, fighting the good fight. Year after year, we are embraced by the individuals we turn to for support. Day after day, we test the emotional endurance of our grassroots. Minute after minute, we are secured in the thoughts, actions and reactions of every individual who has been shaped with our values and mission.
I’ve realized how even the smallest contribution is a vital part of the fundraising landscape. Seeing people of various financial levels continue to make annual donations reaffirms the importance of our past accomplishments, present efforts and future objectives.
Participation of any concentration allows individuals to register their support. Sometimes, it’s not giving up our wants like a new pair of Brian Atwood pumps. It may be as simple as skipping the salon color appointment and making it a “girl’s night in” to save $60 and make a small but significant donation.
Steering an efficient and successful course in today’s world is very different than it was ten or even five years ago. Despite the push back and economic storms of our times, we continue to grow and secure more successes.
And this, my dear friends, we owe to our donors and volunteers.
It’s not the most glamorous word or the most beautiful. You can’t add an accent to it and make it sound more flirtatious. But it’s the one word that has the most meaning—Thank you!