The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund said on Friday that it attracted the bulk of the donations pledges, worth almost $23 million, during an annual telethon broadcast from Los Angeles. The remaining $3.1 million was raised by its French branch in an annual phonethon held on November 22.
“In light of recent developments in Artsakh (Karabakh) and Armenia, all proceeds of Telethon 2020 will be directed to supporting 100,000 displaced individuals and families of our fallen soldiers who lost their lives to protect the sovereignty of both republics,” the head of the fund’s U.S. branch, Maria Mehranian, said in a statement.
Hayastan launched an international fundraising campaign immediately after the outbreak of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in and around Karabakh on September 27. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians from around the world responded to its appeal for urgent aid to Karabakh and its population severely affected by the fighting.
Hayastan collected $170 million from them before its latest fundraisers in the U.S. and France. It emerged earlier this month that the charity headquartered in Yerevan redirected more than $100 million of those proceeds to Armenia’s government.
The Armenian Finance Ministry said on Tuesday that the hefty contribution will finance the government’s “infrastructure, social and healthcare expenditures” necessitated by the war.
The six-week hostilities, halted by a Russian-brokered truce on November 10, displaced most of Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population and destroyed or seriously damaged much of its civilian infrastructure. Encouraged by the deployment of Russian peacekeeping troops, tens of thousands of refugees have returned to Karabakh in the last ten days.
Hayastan has implemented $370 million worth of various infrastructure projects in Karabakh and Armenia since being set up in 1992. Its board of trustees mostly comprises Armenia’s political leaders and prominent Diaspora philanthropists.