The Los Angeles-based Support Armenia organized a fund-raising telethon last June to provide aid to the families of soldiers who were killed in the April 2016 fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. A total of 164 249 dollars was collected in the fund-raiser, nearly half of which, however, was used for organizational expenses, Asparez newspaper wrote today, publishing the organization’s expense statement presented below.
Total amount of collected cash – $ 164,249;
total expenses – $ 79,599.35;
$25,250 – paid to Shant TV;
$17,500 – paid to US Armenia TV;
$17,850 – paid to Meridian Production;
$ 1000 – paid to Axiom Design for booklets, letters, and cards;
$ 345, 56 – travel expenses to Las Vegas as part of the fund-raising campaign;
$ 1,116․16 – paid to Zany Graphics for background;
$ 560․00 – paid to SHARM Production for the filming of actors and singers;
$ 140․00 – for Facebook notifications;
$272․72 – for the lease of items used during the telethon;
$ 6,800 – office rent for the months of April, May, June, and July;
$2,923․12 – PayPal deductions;
$1,100 – to start a corporation;
$4,741․79 – other expanses.
The statement, initially posted on Facebook, has caused a backlash from a number of users, Azparez writes. One of the users, in particular, commented; “So they organize a fund-raiser on the pretext of helping the soldiers’ families to actually promote prosperity in Diaspora Armenian businesses.”
Asparez has contacted Support Armenia co-founder Lily Avagyan, seeking for clarification about the fact that almost half of the donations was spent for the telethon’s organizational costs. “The majority of the spending was used to pay the sums requested by the television companies. These companies have private owners; they are not state-funded and therefore request money for hosting telethons,” Avagyan replied, assuring that the money collected in the June fund-raiser has in fact been spent on its intended purposes.