Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: George Kassis, Executive Director
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 54; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]
March 17, 2004
SUPPORT OF PEOPLE LIKE SARKIS BEDEVIAN STRENGTHEN ARMENIAN CHURCH
When he first came to America from Jerusalem in 1959, Sarkis Bedevian was
just a student. He shared a small apartment with a handful of other recent
Armenian immigrants. They lived in a building that stood on the site that
is now the headquarters of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
He spent his time volunteering as the Diocese and the St. Vartan Cathedral
grew up around him. He stuffed envelopes, ran errands, whatever needed to
be done. Later on he would attend New York University, with the help of
scholarships from Armenian organizations, to study accounting and finance.
Today a success in business, Mr. Bedevian is still not afraid to roll up his
sleeves to help the Diocese and related Armenian organizations succeed.
Though his schedule is easily filled by his work as a developer and
syndicator for real estate investment projects, Mr. Bedevian continues to
give of his time, energy, and skills.
“Sarkis is truly a exemplary leader for this church and the Armenian
people,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese.
“He understands that the organizations that keep our Armenian culture alive
here in the great nation of America are powered by the dedication and
support of volunteer leaders. He continues to serve at all levels of the
church, because this is his home.”
A strong supporter of his local community, Mr. Bedevian has been served his
parish, St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, for many years as parish council
chairman, a Diocesan delegate, and co-chairman of the parish’s community
center building committee.
SERVICE TO ACEF: SUPPORTING THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
Mr. Bedevian has also stepped forward to assume a variety of larger
leadership roles in the Diocese. A member of the Diocesan Council since he
was reelected in 2001, Mr. Bedevian was the Council Treasurer from 1982 to
1990. From 1988 to 2002, he also served on the Board of Trustees of the
Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF), which is responsible for raising and
investing the endowments that provide an annual income for the Eastern
Diocese, local parishes, and a variety of other related organizations.
As a member of the ACEF Board of Trustees, Mr. Bedevian helped manage the
investments and promote the establishment of endowments. In the past few
years the board successfully steered the fund through the stock market’s
darkest days. The years 2000 to 2002 were the three worst years since the
Depression. However, with the board’s proactive planning, ACEF faired
remarkably well and rebounded from that dark time to hit historic highs. In
2003 ACEF distributed $2.7 million to recipient organizations. The fund has
grown now to $65 million.
Managing the fund is just one responsibility of ACEF Board of Trustees.
They must also encourage people to start new endowments. In the past six
years alone more than $25 million dollars have been raised as new
endowments. Not just encouraging others to give, Mr. Bedevian has
generously instituted an endowment with ACEF to benefit his local parish in
Fair Lawn, NJ, and St. Nersess Seminary.
“It is thanks to the guidance of ACEF Board of Trustees members such as Mr.
Bedevian, that the Armenian Church Endowment Fund has continued to grow and
go from strength to strength.” said George Kassis, executive director of
ACEF. “With their input, the money raised is soundly invested, ensuring a
sustained level of distributions through market ups and downs. ACEF ensures
support to our Armenian Christian ministry for generations to come.”
Other organizations Mr. Bedevian has served include the Diocesan Stipend
Committee, the Diocesan Auditing Committee, and since 1980 the St. Nersess
Seminary Board of Trustees. He has also been a commander with the Knights
of Vartan and an active member of the Armenian Assembly of America.
DEDICATION TO ARMENIANS WORLDWIDE
In 2002, Mr. Bedevian and his wife, Ruth, sponsored the construction of the
Mother Cathedral in Vanadzor, Armenia. They’re also benefactors of a youth
center, medical facility, and soup kitchen in Vanadzor.
For their dedication to their faith and selflessly giving, not only from
their business success but also of their time and skills, His Holiness
Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, bestowed the St. Gregory the
Illuminator medal — the highest honor of the Armenian Church — on Sarkis
and Ruth Bedevian in a ceremony in Armenia on May 24, 2002.
The Bedevians have three grown children: Peter, Debra, and Peggy.
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