50 Years of Investing as a Community for the Armenian Church

Fifty years ago, a group of forward-thinking leaders of the Armenian-American community recognized the need to build a solid financial foundation for the Armenian Church that would fund its financial needs in perpetuity. These visionaries— Haig Kavookjian, Dadour Dadourian, Edward Mardigian, Harry Tatosian, Dickran Missirlian, George Bashian, Suren Fesjian, Gould Kardashian and Barry Zorthian—laid the groundwork by investing the money that remained from the construction of New York City’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Upon the approval and signing of a Trust Agreement on June 20, 1973, including the participation and support of then-Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF) was born.

Today, ACEF’s goal is to increase financial returns on the 2,100 endowed funds within its portfolio while mitigating risk. As a result, Diocesan programs and services, parishes and affiliated organizations benefit from the combined investment experience and expertise of ACEF’s Board Members. “Parishes can invest for the long haul and be confident that their money is being invested by financial professionals who are devoted to ensuring the longevity of the Armenian Church,” says Investment Committee Co-Chair, Kirk S. Hachigian. “The Fund provides a wonderful opportunity for each parish to reap the benefits of investing as a community without the challenges of managing their own money locally.”

Over its 50-year history, the ACEF Fund has grown from $1.8 million in 1979 to $140 million today, which can be attributed to the consistent professional management by its leadership and the number of participating organizations. “Despite fluctuations in returns, ACEF has achieved its goal of distributing 4.5% of assets to beneficiaries each year for the last twenty consecutive years,” reports ACEF Chairman Gregory Zorthian, whose father was among the organization’s founders. “It enables communities to build churches, meet their operating expenses, fund educational programs to educate the next generation of Armenian-Americans about the rich history of their heritage, and many other important initiatives to ensure the future of the Armenian Church.”

As ACEF looks to the future, it remains on the cutting edge of technology to reach its audience. The organization is focused on developing current and future resources including the launch of a new, informative website and social media channels featuring information about the organization in a timely and contemporary manner.

With the ongoing dedication and support of the Armenian community, ACEF promises to continue playing a key role in building a solid financial foundation for the next 50 years of the Armenian Church and beyond.