A letter from Chairman Raffi Hamparian explaining how the ANCA uses your donations to advance our shared views and values:
Dear ANCA Supporter,
I take well-deserved pride when the ANCA is called “politically aggressive” by the Wall Street Journal. Or when we’re described as “a powerful and well-organized lobbying force across the country” on the pages of this leading newspaper.
That’s the Journal, not traditionally a pro-Armenian media outlet.
But the truth is that our power, our impact, has earned respect across the board.
— The media reports about us – from CNN to the New York Times.
— Political experts analyze us – as the “powerful Armenian lobby.”
— Top government officials work with us – often eagerly, sometimes reluctantly.
— And our powerful enemies in Ankara and Baku attack us – mercilessly.
Here in DC we aren’t always liked. In fact, sometimes we’re hated, by some pretty toxic characters. But we’re always respected. That I can tell you from personal experience.
I can also tell you that U.S. leaders – from the President on down – know that the ANCA takes strong moral stands. That we get our facts right. That we represent a robust voting base. That we fight hard to get our voices heard. That we demand results. That we are, in a word, relentless.
They respect the ANCA, but we know that our reputation – and the results we deliver against powerful opposition – are possible only because of your support.
Very simply, it’s your generosity that empowers the ANCA to work non-stop for our common cause. That’s because we’re a grassroots group. No government backing. No big corporate sponsors. It’s friends like you, families across America, that keep us going.
That’s why I’d like to give you a quick 360 degree view of ANCA’s work, so that you can see how the dollars you donate are used day-in and day-out to advance our shared aims.
First and foremost, we engage, professionally and persistently, with the Congress, the White House, and the State Department. We are, at heart, a government-affairs organization. A “lobby” for our community. In any given week, our dedicated staff are in constant contact with a broad range of senior government officials and other stakeholders on the full array of our legislative and other issues: building a stronger Armenia, defending a free Artsakh, securing a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, and protecting our Middle East communities. It’s frequently political hand-to-hand combat, on both offense and defense, with progress sometimes incremental on our most hotly contested policy priorities.
That’s where our work starts, but there is much more. Our work with the media is just as vital. That’s why we work so hard, pitching stories, providing facts, and offering our insights. Some of this is readily apparent, for example, when the ANCA is quoted by CNN, the New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal (my favorite, especially when they are complaining about our effectiveness), and many others. But for every story or segment that cites us by name, there are many others – including some of the most valuable to our cause – that were made possible by our quiet efforts – behind the scenes. These results take staff time – persistent and professional.
All this national-level work is only possible because we have strong local communities that are actively engaged in our cause. And this strength is only possible because the Eastern U.S. and Western U.S. regional ANCA offices invest so heavily in supporting our local chapters and activists. Without grassroots support, we would be just another office in Washington. With strong regional organizations and sustained grassroots backing, we are today a powerful force in our nation’s capital. That’s why, at every level, we devote so much staff time and energy to educating, motivating, and activating our community. Grassroots is in our DNA, defining who we are and delivering the power needed to advance our cause.
The most crucial aspect of our community-related investment is, of course, in our youth. Here in DC, we empower our young people through two signature programs. The first is our Summer Internship, named after Leo Sarkisian, which, for the past 30 years, has provided an eight-week “boot camp” for the Armenian Cause, training university students as effective advocates and inspiring future leaders for our community.
The second is our Capital Gateway job placement program, named after Hovig Apo Saghdejian, which provides free housing, training, and professional networking for young Armenians starting careers in government, media, advocacy, politics, and think tanks in our nation’s capital. Together, these two initiatives – both housed at the Martha Aramian Armenian Cultural Center in downtown Washington – require considerable staff time and support, but they are worth it. The best investment we can make is in our youth.
Another vital aspect of our community empowerment is encouraging robust participation by Armenian Americans in campaigns and elections. Our regional ANCA offices and local chapters register thousands of voters – via HyeVotes. From DC, we circulate Candidate Questionnaires, and prepare detailed Report Cards and other reliable information about Congressional candidates. We endorse our friends, seek to unseat our enemies, and, in recent years, have placed a high priority on electing qualified and committed Armenian Americans to the U.S. Congress.
Increasingly, we are connecting with our community via social media, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. I’m proud that our interactive outreach via these networks is among the most successful in the Armenian Diaspora. (If you aren’t already connected, consider signing-up today.) We truly have an online army of activists. Given the vast reach of these platforms, the investments we make in this field are true force-multipliers. That’s why I’m so happy to report that our community’s support has made it possible for us to hire a dedicated IT Director, a remarkable young man, Nerses, who manages this effort and many others at technology’s cutting-edge.
As we pivot our focus from recognition to reparations, we are investing more heavily in legal affairs – defining, defending, and advancing our rights in U.S. courts and the international legal arena. This effort, as you can imagine, requires highly specialized lawyers, with the skills and experience to help navigate our nation to a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide. Very frankly, this effort is an expensive undertaking, but one that is absolutely crucial for our cause.
Another area of our activity is challenging anti-Armenian bias and misinformation. For example, our recent campaign to get Starbucks to take down offensive posters from its stores, or our effort to stop CNN’s anti-Armenian misinformation about the Boston bombers. While these initiatives don’t directly advance our long-term priorities, they defend our honor as Armenians and prevent our enemies from negatively stereotyping us.
I could go on, but this summary should give you a good look at how we allocate your generous support. So I’ll close this letter in the spirit that it started: Well deserved pride, and an equally compelling desire to do even better.
We have built a strong grassroots lobby, a powerful voice for our community and cause. But our enemies are rich and unrelenting. The challenges to our homeland and heritage continue to grow. But so do the opportunities before us.
As a grassroots group, we rely upon you, and friends like you, for financial support to tackle our troubles and advance our cause.
Just as our voice reflects your values, our strength depends on your devotion.
Your donations support each of the activities I’ve described, translating your dollars into decisive political pressure.
Whether you support the vital educational efforts of the ANCA Endowment Fund (tax-deductible) or the political advocacy efforts of the ANCA (not tax-deductible), you’ll be making a difference in the life of our community and the success of our common cause.
Thank you for your consideration of our request for your support, and best regards to you and your family.
PS – Please feel free to share any thoughts or suggestions with us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.