Telethon 2009 carried the theme “Our Shushi,” reflecting the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s strategic objective of helping rebuild the historic Armenian city, in Artsakh. The Telethon was equally dedicated to the fund’s ongoing Rural Development Program, which revitalizes scores of towns and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh, with particular emphasis on border communities.
Clocking in at 12 hours, Telethon 2009 featured a profusion of music and dance performances, short documentaries on Shushi and the Rural Development Program, and appearances by a veritable legion of special guests. They included Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund; Arayik Harutyunyan, prime minister of Nagorno Karabakh; Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, primate of the Diocese of Artsakh; David Babayan, press secretary of the president of Nagorno Karabakh; Robert Avetisyan, the republic’s permanent representative to the United States; and several Armenian-American community leaders and benefactors.
Donations and pledges made during Telethon 2009 and fundraising events throughout the year will finance a slew of infrastructure and community-development projects in Shushi. Plans include the construction or renovation of roads, schools, water networks, residential complexes, and various cultural and community institutions. Funds raised in the course of 2009 will also continue to benefit the Rural Development Program, with initiatives ranging from new gas and water pipelines to new or restored schools and farming-assistance programs.
“This Telethon is yet another testament to the unity of the Armenian people,” said Ara Vardanyan in his address during the event. “Today, as with previous Telethons, we announce the results of fundraising activities organized by various Hayastan All-Armenian Fund affiliates throughout the year. The raised funds will help us address issues of national importance.”
“I would like to express my gratitude to all of our benefactors,” Vardanyan continued. “Without your invaluable support, the fund’s work will simply be impossible. It is your trust that enables us to move forward, rebuild our homeland stone by stone, and help shape a better future for our children.”
The main corporate sponsor of Telethon 2009 was VivaCell-MTS. Other sponsors included ACBA Credit Agricole Bank, Ameria Bank, Ardshininvestbank, and HayPost.
Telethon 2009 was preceded by two major fundraising events, in Europe and Russia. At the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Fundraising Gala, held on October 25 in Moscow, Russian-Armenian entrepreneurs contributed close to $5.3 million. And during November 19-22, the fund’s Pan-European Phoneathon rallied Armenians across the continent, as an army of volunteers, working in five French cities, made telephone appeals to thousands of compatriots. With more than 12,400 supporters making pledges or donations, the Phoneathon raised $1.8 million – reflecting a ten-percent increase over the 2008 total.
Overall, an unprecedented number of Armenians from across the globe participated in the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s fundraising events in 2009.
Of special note has been the exponential growth of the fund’s support bases in Armenia and Artsakh. By the launch of Telethon 2009, more than 20,000 Armenia residents had contributed to the fund. Of these supporters, 13,000 made donations at their local post offices, thanks to a convenient contribution process made possible by a recent partnership between the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and HayPost. Thousands of other Armenia residents made donations through text-massaging, an extremely simple and convenient contribution mechanism introduced by longtime fund supporter VivaCell-MTS for its mobile-service subscribers.
Together, Armenia and Artsakh reached a new benchmark for indigenous philanthropy this year, contributing a total of over $1,747,000 up till Telethon 2009.
Fundraising activities will continue in Armenia and Artsakh for the remainder of the year. Subsequently the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund will publish the total amount of contributions received in 2009 as well as a complete list of benefactors.
2009 fundraising totals by country and region
(as of November 27, 2009)
Armenia and Artsakh: $1,747,043
Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland,
Netherlands, Austria: $4,126,000
Great Britain: $1,200,000
U.S. Eastern Region: $450,000
U.S. Western Region: $1,636,000
Canada (Toronto): $310,000
Canada (Montreal): $250,000