LOS ANGELES (RFE/RL) — In an annual telethon broadcast from Yerevan and Los Angeles on Thanksgiving, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund raised about $10 million that will be spent on fresh infrastructure projects in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
They are designed to improve water supplies and expand the use of solar power in Karabakh and Armenia’s northern Shirak, Lori and Tavush provinces. The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund has already implemented over $350 million worth of similar projects since being set up in 1992.
Hayastan received more than $11 million in donation pledges during last year’s telethon. According to its executive director, Haykak Arshamyan, that included $3.5 million promised by two wealthy Armenian Americans. They have still not transferred the sum to the fund headquartered in Yerevan, Arshamyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday.
At the latest televised fundraiser, Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan made the largest donation worth $1.5 million. This raised to around $25 million the total amount of his financial contributions to Hayastan.
Another $200,000 was contributed by Samvel Aleksanyan, one of Armenia’s wealthiest businessmen. No donations by other well-known tycoons from Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora were announced this time around.
Many Armenians expected that funds raised by Hayastan will rise significantly after last year’s “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia that brought to power a new, far more popular and trusted government. These hopes have clearly not materialized so far.