Pasadena Genocide Memorial Board Appoints New Chair, Announces Wells Fargo Grant

New chair of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee, former Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian


PASADENA—The Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee last week appointed former Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian as its interim chief and announced a grant for the construction of the monument from Well Fargo.

The PAGMC Board announced that after accepting the resignation from former board chairman Bill Paparian, it unanimously voted Melekian, who aside from being a former police chief of Pasadena was the executive director of the White House COPS program.

“This project is bigger than any one person. It is a memorial to those who perished, including those members of my family, those of my fellow board members, and our relatives who survived. I and all of the members of the Committee are honored to help in this effort. The Genocide Memorial project remains on track, our fundraising is on schedule and this project will be built, said Melekian upon being elected.

In addition, the board reviewed the terms and conditions of a draft contract for construction. The prospect of shortly breaking ground and the tremendous positive momentum engendered over the past week for moving forward with the project has board members and the community very excited.

The board, as is prudent under a new board Chair, also implemented a thorough review of the board’s financial processes to ensure that all appropriate financial protocols are being observed and are accurate. Two board members will be conducting a complete reconciliation of all transactions with the board’s CPA Firm and fiscal agent, the venerable Community Foundation of the Verdugos. This review will be completed within the next two weeks.

“Our ancestors deserve only the finest effort from their dependents who survived,” concluded Chief Melekian.

Sgt. Afsharian (center), PAGMC Board Member Anthony Portantino, Wells Fargo Foundation Director Jonathan Weedman, Montrose Brand Manager Edgar Patatanyan and Regional Wells Fargo Presidents David DiCristofaro and Sandy Walia


During its annual Community Connection Breakfast, the financial giant Wells Fargo gave the Pasadena Genocide Memorial Committee a $1,000 grant. PAGMC joined 62 other San Gabriel Valley non-profits Thursday morning in being honored by the venerable bank known for its philanthropy and one of the most well-known brand identities in the world.

Accepting the contribution on behalf of the board was was Pasadena Police Sergeant Greg Afsharian, who made history nearly three decades ago when he became the first Armenian speaking Police Officer in the Pasadena Police Department.

The PAGMC is shepherding the fundraising and construction of a Genocide Memorial for placement in Pasadena’s Memorial Park. The project, under the supervision of internationally-renowned architect Stefanos Polyzoides, has been approved by the Pasadena City Council and is in final negotiations on a construction contract in hopes of having the memorial finished by April 24th, the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The Wells Fargo Certificate presented to the PAGMC Board stated: “Wells Fargo is proud to support nonprofits that work to strengthen our communities. Through corporate and foundation grants, we share our success by giving back to nonprofit organizations that address vital community needs and issues, including community development, education, human services and cultural/civic projects.”

The Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee is a 501(c) (3) organization focused on the fundraising, development and outreach of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial. Designed by Art Center College of Design graduate Catherine Menard, the Memorial will entail a tripod of beams that meet together over a water basin. One and a half million tear drops of water will fall into the basin each year, representing each life lost to the Armenian Genocide.

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