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Support & Participate: You Can Always Do Something

This article is the fourth and final of the September series Support & Participate, which is about the importance of philanthropy and why everyone can contribute to making a difference in Armenia—no matter how small. FAR continues to tell the story of one of our most loyal and transformative donors, The Mardigian Family Foundation, and the couple behind it, Janet and Ed Mardigian of Detroit, MI.

Janet and Ed Mardigian’s compassion stretches wide. In addition to their incredible support of several of FAR’s programs, including Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, they are also generous contributors to the Armenian church, hospitals, their local dog shelter, and more

And while the couple is in a unique position to generously give, Janet said that she believes there is always a way that one can to make a difference, whether it's through donations or volunteerism.

“I think that sometimes people hesitate. They may say to themselves, ‘I’m just getting out of school. I can only give 25 dollars, what good does that do?’ Well, 25 dollars can do a lot!” Especially when one dollar can be even more effective in a place like Armenia. The key, she said, is trusting the mission and the transparency of the organization to which one gives.

“People want to know where their money is going,” said Ed, who emphasized the importance of organizational transparency and consistent communication, both of which have greatly influenced his choice of giving to FAR and other organizations through the years. With FAR, the Mardigians have been able to clearly see the direct impact of their support.

“FAR is an efficient and hands-on organization. There’s no waste; the money goes to the cause,” he said.

Both Ed and Janet try to lead by example as well. They have taken their two sons, Grant and Matthew, to Armenia and have encouraged them to join FAR’s Board of Directors and fundraise for other local causes. For the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration they asked friends to either donate to FAR or to their local dog rescue center instead of giving them gifts. The two also speak about the importance of philanthropy as much as they can.

“You don’t have to be financially wealthy to make a difference,” said Janet.“You can always help out—renovate a house, put on a roof. You don’t just have to give dollars, you can give of yourself. You can always do something.”

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