GLENDALE (Glendale News Press)–The Armenian National Committee of America has done a lot for the Armenian community through its programs–but in order to do more–it needs more money–organization officials said.
So it will host a telethon on Sunday to raise money for its general endowment — the nonprofit and non-political arm of the group that funds educational programs.
"The purpose is to raise funds for the endowment–whose purpose is to fund education efforts to encourage civic participation and voter registration," said Zanku Armenian–a board member of the Western Region of the Armenian National Committee based in Glendale.
The general endowment funds several programs a year that encourage civic involvement–provide internship programs for university students and encourage voter registration–all within the Armenian-American community–Armenian said.
It also helps to fund Armenian Genocide education efforts in schools–he said.
"In terms of a grassroots effort–the [Armenian National Committee of America] has done a tremendous job," said Armond Aghakhanian–an executive board member of the Glendale-based Armenian American Chamber of Commerce.
"It is very difficult–engaging communities who are new to this country and the voting system–who come from eastern blocs where there was no trust when it came to the government–and a lot of corruption," he said.
The organization has had to deal with a lot of barriers–but has been able to lift those barriers–Aghakhanian said. Additional funding will hopefully allow it to continue expanding its programs–he said.
The nationally televised telethon–which is being broadcast from Glendale Studios–will tap Armenian American communities not only in Glendale–but in all parts of the country–Armenian said.
It is being broadcast in Glendale because of the size of the Armenian American community in the city–but the organization has volunteers from across the country participating to bring the telethon together–Armenian said.
This is the first time the Armenian National Committee of America is hosting a telethon to raise money for its endowment fund–he said.
"We don’t have a benchmark at this point–but every dollar helps," Armenian said. "The larger the amount the better–because we are trying to reach more Armenian Americans in the country… When you take on an endeavor of this magnitude–you hope to get a large amount. The point is–we are hoping in the millions."
Many local officials–congressman and prominent members of the Armenian American community have been invited to attend the six-hour marathon.
The local and national community will likely come together to make the telethon a success–Aghakhanian sad.
"I believe it’s going to turn to be very successful," he said. "It’s a great cause."
The telethon will air in Glendale–La Crescenta–and Burbank on Channel 55 from 3 to 9 PM.