Telethon Raises Over Six Million for Major Karabagh Road

LOS ANGELES (Combined Sources)–The 2003 Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Telethon–which took place in Los Angeles on November 27–ended with donations worth a total of $6,072,557 US dollars–according to preliminary calculations.

The bulk of the money raised came from the United States–where Armenian-American donation pledges totaled some $4 million this year.

The countries of Canada–Sweden–Spain–France–Kuwait–Lebanon–Russia–and Britain each made online donations at the Fund’s web site. The total amount collected was $12,055 US dollars.

The overall figure–which is 20 percent higher than the sum raised last year–includes $900,000 collected by the Armenian community of France in a separate phone campaign earlier this month.

The latest telethon saw a further surge in donations from Armenia and Karabagh which contributed $720,000–almost three times more than in November 2002. Most of the contributions came from local companies and wealthy individuals.

Large-scale donations dominated the Diaspora fund-raising. Louise Manoogian Simone–whose Detroit-based Armenian General Benevolent Union has long engaged in charitable work in Armenia–gave $1 million for the second consecutive year.

A $1 million payment to Hayastan was also made by Los Angeles businessman Albert Boyajian. Speaking at the telethon–Boyajian complained that fellow Armenian-Americans are too tight-fisted with regard to their historical homeland. They should have raised much larger sums–he said.

Philanthropist Gerard Cafesjian made a generous contribution of $500,000 US dollars–and Ara Abrahamian from Russia donated $200,000 US dollars.

The $25 million project–launched in 2000–aims to link northern and southern parts of Karabagh with a modern highway which officials say will boost the Armenian-populated region’s security and economy. Direct transport communication between those mountainous areas has for decades been carried out via nearby lowlands in Azerbaijan proper.

A 44-kilometer stretch of the road has already been build–and work is currently underway on its separate 26-kilometer section. Hayastan officials said before the telethon that $15 million is necessary for its completion.

The Fund implemen’s projects of reconstruction–renovation–and construction of substructures in Armenia and Karabagh. It has scientific-cultural and social assistance projects as well. Beginning this month–the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s local committee of the West Coast US will work towards accumulating all the pledged donations.

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