The Cafesjian Family Foundation was founded in late 1996 by Gerard L. Cafesjian to reach out to Armenia, then a war-torn, devastated country with more than half of its population on the verge of extreme poverty. The Foundation has been especially active in civic and community projects, health and human services for children and the elderly, education, and arts and culture.
Created by Mr. Cafesjian in memory of his parents, Levon and Nora, the Cafesjian Family Foundation is an independent, U.S.-based grantmaker entirely dedicated to Armenian-oriented philanthropy. Grantmaking priorities are economic development in the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as building stronger and deeper relationships between the U.S. and Armenia.
Since its inception, the Cafesjian Family Foundation has made grants to several Armenian organizations. Recipients include: the Armenian Assembly of America, Inc., in support of Armenian advocacy; the Armenian General Benevolent Union, in support of the American University of Armenia, soup kitchens, and various other special projects; the Armenia Fund USA, Inc., in support of the Vanadzor School and the Nagorno-Karabakh North-South highway; and the Ani and Narod Memorial Fund, in support of vaccines for children and the Narod Network Project, a computer/internet based project linking Armenian students around the world. In addition to donating over 100 million dollars for charitable grant programs, the Cafesjian Family Foundation has been a leader in entrepreneurial philanthropy, providing active and productive assistance to Armenia by investing in vital economic projects and establishing businesses that are vital to the country's long-term economic development: businesses that provide long-term employment opportunities for people in Armenia.
The Cafesjian Family Foundation has initiated programs in Armenia with the goal of fostering jobs and sustainable economic activity for the development and implementation of programs in media, financial services, alternative energy, and real estate.
Through the Cafesjian Family Foundation, Mr. Cafesjian has invested some $128 million to demonstrate to other potential investors that Armenia is a place conducive to free enterprise. In a cycle of entrepreneurial philanthropy, the Cafesjian Family Foundation develops successful business models in sectors important for Armenia's future, sells off successful enterprises to local investors, and reinvests 100% of any profits in new demonstration projects or to help sustain the Foundation's not-for-profit initiatives in Armenia.