Family of the Late Community Benefactor Continues Legacy of Youth Empowerment through Major Donation for ANCA Telethon 2014
WASHINGTON—On the occasion of ANCA Telethon 2014, the family of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian announced a major financial donation to be used for the purchase of a new building in Washington, to be known as the Martha Aramian Cultural Center. This building will be a permanent home for the Capital Gateway Program, whose mission is to attract and support recent university graduates who are interested in coming to the nation’s capital to begin careers in government, media and public policy. The Gateway fellows receive free housing and professional support as they pursue these careers.
The Aramian family of Providence, Rhode Island has long been among the most generous benefactors of ANCA programs as well as of charitable projects in the Armenian homeland and the Diaspora. Their parents, Kazar and Nevart, were Genocide survivors who came to this country and committed themselves and their daughters to remember and honor their heritage and culture.
As a consequence, the Aramian family demonstrated that commitment by having been the prime donor to the ANCA’s Armenian Cause 2.0 Conference in 2010. They also provided support for the Aramian Conference room, located on the fourth floor of the ANCA’s national headquarters, and numerous educational programs for young Armenian American women. The Aramians have also funded, in Martha’s name, a series of Capitol Hill programs on Armenian issues.
The ANCA Eastern Region’s Vahan Cardashian Award was granted to Martha Aramian in 2008, during a New York City banquet that also honored noted human right activist, and now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. Martha was the recipient of the Armenian Prelacy’s highest honor, the Queen Zabel Award. Martha’s benevolent reach extended across the Armenian world to include the establishment of a child care center, senior center, and youth camp in Vanadzor, Armenia, a city devastated by the 1988 earthquake . In her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, she conceptualized and developed the Armenian Heritage Park, as a permanent memorial testifying to the strength and courage of Armenian immigrants to this country, which she later deeded to the city.
“Our family is pleased to offer this living legacy to our beloved sister Martha’s memory,” said Sue Aramian and Margo Aramian Ragan. “The Martha Aramian Cultural Center will stand as an enduring home for Armenian American youth in our nation’s capital, a place for young men and women to celebrate their roots, explore their culture, build lasting friendships, and realize their professional ambitions and public service aspirations.”
“We are honored by the Aramian family’s truly remarkable support and visionary commitment to our cause, our culture, our community and – especially – our youth,” said ANCA Endowment President Ken Hachikian. “The Martha Aramian Cultural Center will serve as a wonderful tribute to Martha’s sacred memory, supporting and sustaining generations of young Armenians as they strive, succeed, and rise to great heights here in Washington, DC.”
Established through a generous donation from the Cafesjian Family Foundation, the Capital Gateway Program, over the years, has benefited tremendously from the generosity of donors committed to creating public service opportunities for young Armenian Americans. A leading financial contributor to the Program has been the family of Hovig Apo Saghdejian, a 23-year old youth leader and community activist from Fresno, California, who lost his life in 2004 in a tragic car accident. His family generously established the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund in his memory. Substantial support has also been provided by longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO).
Applications for the Capital Gateway Program are reviewed on a rolling basis. Opportunities are currently available for Fall, 2014. For more information about the Capital Gateway Program or to apply, contact Program Director Raffi Karakashian at (202) 775-1918 or [email protected]