LOS ANGELES–Amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Armenia’s around the world rallied on Thursday to raise more than $35 million for the development of Armenia and Karabakh during the 11th annual Hayastan All-Armenia Fund’s Thanksgiving Day telethon, beating last year’s record of $15.3 million.
Preliminary figures show the following break-down in pledges: Los Angeles: $1.3 million, Lebanon: $200,000, Montreal: $130,000, Argentina: $100,000, Great Britain: $200,000, Holland: $40,000, Australia: $50,000, New York: $200,000, France: $1.5 million, Germany: $85,000, Switzerland: $33,000, Toronto: $250,000, Greece and Cyprus: $40,000.
The Fund said that the final $35 million figure also includes amounts raised previously through other events such as the Phonethon, charitable concerts, a radio marathon that took place in Lebanon, and a dinner gala in Yerevan.
Earlier in November, about 120 donors from Armenia and Russia pledged to donate an unprecedented $30 million to the Fund during a dinner gala in Yerevan hosted by President Serzh Sarkisian, who also serves as the chairperson of Armenia Fund’s Board of Trustees.
Russian-Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan, who donated during the Nov. 3 gala announced during the telethon that his pledge of $15 million would fund the construction of a new hospital in Stepanakert.
Other major donors included Viva Cell, Mikayel Vardanyan, Samvel Aleksanyan, Edward Ernekyan, Gagik Adibekyan, Varujan Grigoryan, Gagik Tzarukyan, Norik Petrosyan, Barsegh Beglaryan, Aram Kocharyan, Khachik Manukyan and others.
“We have once again proven that our nation is strong and united,” declared Ara Vardanyan, the Fund’s Executive Director. “These are hard times not only for Armenia and Artsakh but for the whole world due to the economic crisis. However, despite the hardships, Armenia’s the world over have strecthed out a helping hand to their brother and sisters in Armenia and Artsakh.”
The telethon broadcast worldwide via cable, satellite and internet connection to harness the resources of the Armenian nation for financing vital reconstruction and infrastructure projects in Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
In Southern California, the telethon aired on KSCI Channel 18 for 12 hours between 8:00am-8:00pm PST. Internationally, the telethon was also featured on H1-Armenian Public Television. Los-Angeles based 24 hour Armenian Russian Television Network and Horizon Armenian TV.
With nineteen affiliates around the world, the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund has implemented over $120 million of infrastructure development assistance and humanitarian aid for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh since it began in 1994.
A list of all major projects to be funded by the money raised at the telethon is available on the Fund’s webpage.
The latest telethon in Los Angeles also featured Karabakh President Bako Sahakian, Head of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Arch. Pargev Martirosian, Armenia’s Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakopyan, donors and other prominent Armenia and Diaspora figures.
The Fund will use the proceeds from this year’s telethon for its core projects in remote rural areas of Armenia and Karabakh targeting healthcare, water and education infrastructures.