In the spirit of accountability and in order to ensure transparency of the work that is being done to assist our veterans in Armenia, the Armenian Youth Federation’s “With Our Soldiers” Task Force has made public the financial information pertaining to the campaign. The information includes the total amount of funds raised and spent, as well as a delineation of the income sources and the expenses that were incurred as of April 30, 2013.
According to the data released, a total of $69,084.93 has been raised through various fundraising activities, as well as contributions from supporters. The bulk of the funds, about 40%, has been donated by individual sponsors and ARF Gomidehs during the main fundraising event for the campaign, which was held on August 18, 2012 at the Pasadena Armenian Center. Contributions of AYF Chapters, which have organized fundraisers of their own throughout the 2012 and 2013 calendar years, have brought in an additional 31% of the funds. The AYF chapters that contributed to the campaign include South Bay, Pasadena, Phoenix, San Francisco, Valley, Glendale, and Burbank. The remaining 10% of the funds came from the sale of promotional items, such as T-shirts and DVDs, as well as ticket sales for various fundraising events, like “Sushi for Shushi” (May 2012) and “Azadamardik Dinner” (August 2012).
To date, $52,062.94 has been spent by the “With Our Soldiers” Task Force to deliver treatments to freedom fighters and to provide the necessary funding for the operations of the campaign. The bulk of the funds was spent on medical treatments (59%) and providing direct assistance to freedom fighters and their families (12%). These services include the purchase of specially retrofitted vehicles for disabled veterans and payments to the family of Hrach Muradian, an azadamardik assassinated in Armenia in April. Thus, the task force has remained committed to allocating no less than 70% of its budget to providing direct help to the veterans in need. It is important to mention that 50 freedom fighters and members of their families have received assistance from the WOS campaign, and the goal is to increase that number even further in the months ahead, as funds permit.
Among other big expense categories are employee (7%) and transportation (4%) costs. The task force representative in Armenia and a doctor at the Yerevan Medical Center have received a small compensation for gathering the necessary documents, arranging treatments, and coordinating the operations of the task force on the ground. Since many freedom fighters are in dire economic conditions, the task force has also provided the funds they needed to reach Yerevan and get the necessary medical checkups and treatment. Some azadamardiks had to make the trip from distant regions such as Tavush, and quite a few had to get to the capital for more than one checkup and/or procedure. They would not have been able to do that without assistance from the campaign.
The other two expense categories, public relations (10%) and veteran videos (7%) are the costs associated with ensuring proper publicity for the campaign. The AYF has partnered with Yerkir Media in Armenia to produce video reports for a number of freedom fighters who have been treated in order to share their stories with the community. The cost of each video is $150, which is a discounted rate received by the “With Our Soldiers” Task Force for the three-stage taping (before, during, and after treatments) and the editing of these clips. PR costs include the creation of the campaign website, the design and printing expenses for brochures and flyers, and the costs of various promotional materials, such as T-shirts. Most of these expenses were incurred in the beginning stages of the campaign with the aim of increasing the awareness of the initiative among the public. Lastly, a samll fraction of the total spending (1%) is the campaign’s administrative expenses, such as the wire transfer fees for sending money to Armenia and the costs of utilities, such as telephone bills, for maintaining the constant communication with the hospital staff and our employees in the Homeland.
To ensure proper accounting, the campaign employees in Armenia send copies of all receipts for medical treatments directly to the task force and submit a monthly report on the expenses that have been incurred during the previous months. Then, those receipts and expenses are matched with the funds that were transferred to Armenia during the course of the month to ensure that there are matching records for every dollar that is spent. All of that information is compiled by the task force and submitted to the AYF Central Executive for review and compilation.
“We are doing everything to make sure that all of the funds are spent in a responsible manner and that our supporters’ contributions are impacting the largest number of freedom fighters possible,” says Caspar Jivalagyan, a member of the “With Our Soldiers” Task Force. “We have tried to get the best prices for all services, medication, and treatments that have been provided, and we have made a lot of effort to partner up with various hospitals and doctors to make sure that we are getting the best deals available.”
The task force will continue to update the community on the progress of the “With Our Soldiers” campaign and will release a final update on both the finances and the total numbers of freedom fighters who have been assisted in the coming months as the treatments are completed and the remaining budget is spent to help an even larger number of veterans in need.
“The AYF has always been committed to ensuring that all of its financial operations are transparent. The ‘With Our Soldiers’ Task Force intends to continue that same tradition as we work to bring vital treatments to our veterans in Armenia and finish the campaign in the coming months,” adds David Arakelyan, the chairman of the “With Our Soldiers” campaign.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.