Online Platform Hopes to Get Diaspora to Help Armenian Veterans


BOSTON — A new organization seeks to provide an online fundraising platform that according to its co-founder, Adam Kablanian, hopes to bridge the gap between the diaspora and soldiers and their families in Armenia through regular donations.

The Friends of the Armenian Soldier and Family (FASF) kicked off a 44-day fundraising campaign on September 27, the one-year anniversary of the start of the second Karabakh war. The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000 as part of its first grant to IFS (The Insurance Foundation for Serviceman or 1000plus), ultimately to be used in support of the veterans and their families.

Kablanian, the CEO of CYNORA, said in a recent interview, “Since May, we’re proud to have launched our website, created a partnership with various organizations in Armenia (including IFS), and have begun raising funds to support fallen and disabled Armenian soldiers and their families. We have big plans for the organization’s impact as we look towards the rest of 2021 and beyond, including the issuing of our first official grants to IFS and creating further partnerships with other on-the-ground organizations in Armenia who support our fallen and disabled soldiers (and their families).”

FASF does not seek to create a new organization there, but simply use the existing channels to help families particularly affected after the recent war. The organization seeks to connect links between the diaspora and soldiers’ families to continuously support the needs of Armenian veterans through monthly monetary contributions. FASF will partner with organizations on the ground in Armenia to deliver career training programs, rehabilitation services, and support for the everyday lives of these surviving veterans and the families of those who have fallen.

“In just the short time we’ve launched, we’ve already raised over $100,000. While this is significant traction so far, it’s just the beginning of far more ambitious plans,” Kablanian said.

“Our core mission is to enable support for fallen or disabled Armenian soldiers and their families. We are extremely grateful to be working with great organizations based in Armenia, such as IFS, which will be our first grant recipient. IFS is an amazing organization that was created for the purpose of insuring and providing compensation to soldiers and families of soldiers who have been injured or deceased when defending the borders of our two motherlands. We’re proud to lend our support to IFS and to other organizations who are supporting our fallen or disabled Armenian soldiers and their families,” Kablanian said.

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One of the ways FASF is making the stream of donations more stable is by seeking regular monthly donations rather than one-time ones, especially because the aftermath of the war will be felt for decades. “This is a cause that will need continuous contribution for many years to come. IFS estimates that we’ll collectively need to invest over $300 million over the next 20 years towards these causes. This is a big problem, but also a big opportunity for the community to band together and support. In that sense, when we say continuous giving, we mean both monthly donations (which our platform seamlessly enables) and continuous mindshare for this problem,” Kablanian explained.

In addition to Kablanian, the other co-founders of FASF are fellow members of the Armenian tech community, Al Eisaian, CEO of IntelinAir and Patrick Sarkissian, CEO and co-founder of Raleigh&Drake (RAD).

Explained Kablanian, “All have had a sustained impact on Armenia’s economy in two key ways: (1) through entrepreneurial endeavors across various business opportunities spanning over 20 years, and (2) philanthropically through both contributions and organizationally (example: Patrick Sarkissian is the founder of ONEArmenia). In addition to the founding Board members mentioned above, we have many volunteers who feel a similar level of passion for this cause and are donating their time, resources, and expertise to making FASF a success.”

Adam Kablanian

He added, “First and foremost, FASF has one focus: enabling support for fallen or disabled Armenian soldiers and their families. We believe this sole focus will help us drive the most impact. In addition, because we’re solely focused on this cause, we’re able to directly measure and transparently share the impact we’re having in a way that we believe resonates with our donors. This will be expressed through amount of funds raised, grants that have been provided, and the corresponding impacts of those grants (e.g. IFS will be able to support X families for Y years due to the funds raised by FASF donors).  Lastly, we believe our platform (website, connections, focus area, and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status) allows us to make a larger impact than other platforms have historically.”

One of the problems that arises with donations to Armenia is fear that the money will not reach its designated destination. Kablanian is aware of this concern and has put protocols in place to safeguard the process, he said. “Transparency in our process, actions, and outcomes will be key for us; frankly, it’s something that should be a central focus for any non-profit organization, whether Armenian or otherwise.  We have plans to share outcomes (dollars raised), impact (lives that we’ve been able to impact), and future plans in real-time via our website & social media channels. We also go through a rigorous process of ensuring the organizations we partner with have the highest ethical standards & track records of success.”

For Kablanian and FASF, again and again, it is the fate of soldiers that is important. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our brave men and women who sacrifice their lives for Armenia are supported, forever. This support can come in various forms: education, healthcare, monetary support, and anything in between. We’d like the global Armenian community to collectively participate in this goal. After all, the monetary donations we can all make is just a small sacrifice compared to what our brave men and women in Armenia are contributing every day,” he said.

“We have volunteers that have been helping support FASF that are based all over the world – from San Francisco to Yerevan and anywhere in between,” Kablanian added.

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