Networks of Armenians and non-Armenians Engage to Help Those in Need
GLENDALE, CA — A record 275,000 individuals and hundreds of organizations in the United States have contributed more than $80 million to help Armenia Fund address the growing humanitarian crises in Armenia and Artsakh. Worldwide, Armenia Fund and Himnadram – the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund have collectively raised more than $170 million to date.
This unprecedented response from ethnically-diverse people across the U.S. comes as the need for emergency medical care, housing, clothing, food and other relief supplies increases in the twin Armenian republics due to a border conflict that began on September 27th in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are 90,000 people that have been displaced to keep their children safe,” said Maria Mehranian, President of the Armenia Fund. “They are temporarily staying with relatives; schools, dormitories, hotels have become makeshift emergency shelters.”
From school kids who are donating the contents of their piggy banks to high-profile social media influencers, American-Armenians have joined the effort to help their homeland. Grassroots fundraisers in individual donor’s homes have raised large amounts of money.
Churches, fraternal, sporting, academic and other non-profit organizations have all chipped in to donate through Armenia Fund after Armenia asked the diaspora to coordinate all its relief efforts through the Himnadram – the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and Armenia Fund.
“Organically organized mini-telethons have sprung up on Facebook and Instagram, where influencers have streamed their hour-long to 12-hour long videos to their friends and the public-at-large,” said Azatui Karaoglanyan of Armenia Fund. “One live stream organized by singer Tigran Asatryan and featuring other popular performers including Harout Pamboukjian, Armenchik and Super Sako raised $620,000 in a matter of hours.”
Celebrated social media personalities like Kim Kardashian, Suzy Sogoyan, Hrush Achemyan, Anna Petrosian and Lilit Cardanian have stepped up to find creative ways to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cardanian’s live stream raised $250,000, which was doubled by ONEArmenia. In addition, Cardanian delivered a check for $100,000 from sales of her beauty products to the Armenia Fund office in Glendale, where for weeks now volunteers have been manning the phones to field donation calls from around the country.
Even the world-famous rock band System of a Down released its first music in 15 years to help raise funds for Armenia Fund. SOAD’s vocalist Serj Tankian and bassist Shavo Odadjian said when band members realized the catastrophe unfolding in Armenia, they decided to set their creative differences aside and create music to raise not only funds but also awareness.
“Like many around the globe, my husband and I are doing everything we can to help with humanitarian efforts that are already in motion,” said a long time volunteer. “Personally, it is what my parents have instilled in me from a young age, and it is what feels right. Right now, it means to donate, to inform co-workers, and to put in long hours behind the scenes helping Armenia Fund. Whatever it is, and however it is, we must continue and stay united.”
“Those who need our help now include families who have fled the conflict zone with the clothing on their back,” said Mehranian. “We are addressing their needs as well as the needs of the healthcare system, which is treating thousands of injuries from the front lines in addition to the thousands of COVID-19 patients.”
American media networks including FOX and NBC have been reporting about Armenia Fund’s fundraising efforts. Armenia Fund’s President Maria Mehranian has been interviewed by news anchors including FOX’s Araksya Karapetyan and print and internet journalists, who have observed the effort being made by the Armenian-American community to address the urgent humanitarian crisis in their homeland.