WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — Monday, August 8, 2022 was a special day for the Armenian community of Metro Detroit. Pine Lake Country Club in West Bloomfield was host to the annual Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Special Projects Golf Day, to raise funds for the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Southfield.
The committee, headed for the fifth year in a row by Brian Thomas and Matthew Najarian, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the annual event, which is one of the longest-running charitable golf outings in the State of Michigan, and has raised over 6 million dollars for the school during the last half-century.
The Golf Day included breakfast, lunch, mezza, and a banquet dinner for the attendees, at which Richard Dickran Kurjian spoke on behalf of the AGBU School Board and Brian Thomas spoke on behalf of the Special Projects Group.
Edward Mardigian, Jr. read a letter from Richard Manoogian, chairman emeritus of Masco Corporation and son of the school’s founder Alex Manoogian. Richard Manoogian is the only surviving member of the original Special Projects Group from the inception of the golf outing.
The AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian school was the brainchild of industrialist and philanthropist Alex Manoogian, who emigrated from Smyrna, Turkey and made his career in Detroit as the founder of Masco Corporation. It was one of the first Armenian day schools in the US. Beginning as a kindergarten in the St. John’s Armenian Church complex in Southfield in 1969, the school was moved to its own full-service building in the early 1970s at which point the golf outing was initiated in 1972 to raise money to support the school. It remains the only Armenian day school in the Midwest and the only Armenian day school in the US, outside of California, which runs through 12th grade.
Since the school was chartered by Central Michigan University in 1995 and became a charter school under the auspices of the State of Michigan, the Special Projects Group acts as an auxiliary fundraiser for improvements to the school.