Payday benefits local parishes, Armenian organizations

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]

April 13, 2004


It was a big payday this year for local parishes and other Armenian

The Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF) recently distributed $2.7 million
to 151 beneficiaries, income generated in 2003 from endowments managed by
ACEF. Because of successful investment planning, ACEF was able to
distribute $2.7 million compared to last year’s distribution of $2.4

Individuals who establish funds with ACEF designate beneficiaries. The
principal investment is never touched. Each year part of the income is
added to the principal, allowing it to grow in the face of inflation. The
other half of the income is sent to the Diocese, Armenian organizations, and
local parishes. This plan assures these organizations receive annual
financial support for generations.

Because of successful investment planning, ACEF was able to distribute $2.7
million this year, compared to last year’s distribution o $2.4 million.

The largest amount, $1.25 million, went to help fund ministries and programs
of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) — efforts such
as youth ministry, college outreach, Armenian and Sunday Schools, music and
deacon training, and mission parish support.

“With the ongoing support of the funds invested in ACEF, the Diocese is able
to spend less time worrying about raising funds and more focused on reaching
Armenians with the Lord’s word,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate
of the Eastern Diocese. “When people create endowments for the Diocese,
we’re assured they’ll continue to support our ministries for generations to

The second largest check was sent to St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New
Rochelle, NY, which received $286,000 for 2003. With the support offered by
the money invested in ACEF, St. Nersess is able to identify future clergy
and lay ministers, train them to assume responsibility, and offer programs
that support and educate current lay and clergy leaders.

Funds earmarked for the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin brought in $244,000
in income in 2003.


Local parishes are often named as beneficiaries of ACEF funds. St. James
Church of Watertown, MA, was the parish with the largest income from ACEF
investments in 2003, a total of $104,000. That’s a large portion of the
parish’s yearly $700,000 budget.

St. James has a total of $2.1 million invested by ACEF. Of that, $400,000
is in endowments established by individuals and designated to benefit the
parish. The rest of the principal is money raised by the parish
specifically for its endowment.

Since assuming the pastorship in Watertown in 1999, Fr. Arakel Aljalian has
made it a mission to increase the parish’s endowment, with the goal of
eventually having half the parish budget covered by endowment income. He
said the steady income allows the parish to do more programming and frees it
from fund-raising worries.

“If you have a strong endowment fund, you can do more educational,
spiritual, youth, outreach programs,” Fr. Aljalian said. “Our church was
built by the hands of the parishioners in the difficult times of the
Depression. I try to remind my parishioners that it is our obligation to
continue that legacy left by our grandparents, to make sure this church will
be here for a long time. And with the continued, yearly financial support
of endowments, we can bring our community together at St. James.”

The principal donations invested in ACEF remain untouched in perpetuity.
The income generated from the investments is distributed to beneficiaries
named by the establisher of the fund. Some income is also used to build up
the principal, so future distributions can keep pace with inflation and even

For more information on the Armenian Church Endowment Fund and to establish
your own fund, contact George Kassis, executive director of ACEF, by
e-mailing [email protected] or calling (212) 686-0710 ext. 54.

* * *

Top 10 Beneficiaries of 2003 ACEF income
Eastern Diocese: $1,251,097
St. Nersess Seminary: $286,692
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin: $244,639
St. James Church, Watertown, MA: $104,370
Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School, NY: $101,516
St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ: $69,385
Fund for Armenian Relief: $63,769
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem: $50,503
ST. Tarkmanchatz School: $43,876
Holy Cross Church, New York, NY: $43,176
St. Gregory the Enlightener, White Plains, NY: $30,382

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