About Children of Armenia Fund (COAF)

What kind of work does COAF do?

We provide children in rural villages with the opportunities they need to fulfill their potential as contributors to their communities, societies and the world. We employ strategic programs in the areas of education, healthcare, child and family services, community engagement and economic development to stimulate the comprehensive revitalization of those villages while also restoring critical pieces of a village‘s physical infrastructure. Our approach is fully holistic and entrepreneurial, with close adherence to best practices in international development. Priorities are determined only after close consultation with local residents and leadership. This collaboration fosters a deeply rooted sense of ownership by our stakeholders. Their commitment, along with the efforts of our dedicated and highly skilled staff, results in the timely and cost-effective execution of our programs. COAF focuses on development activities that enable people to acquire the skills they need to help themselves.

How do you choose your villages? Why this Marz?

COAF has chosen to work in the Armavir Marz (province) because its residents live under very harsh conditions. Many villages in the region came into existence as part of the Soviet strategy of populating a desolate area solely to provide a work force for the factories it built there--factories that are now largely defunct. More specifically, we operate in the Baghramyan region, which consists of 15 rural communities with a population of roughly 20,000 people. COAF is now active in ten villages in this vicinity. We began in Karakert and have added other villages based on their need, size and willingness to participate and work collaboratively.

Why did you start in Karakert?

In August 2003, our Founder and Chairman, Dr. Garo Armen, visited Karakert and the poverty and destitution he encountered there shocked him. Dr. Armen promised the villagers that he would return soon with a preliminary plan to address their challenges. This promise became the cornerstone and the genesis of the work that has transformed the whole region and committed us to finding sustainable solutions for this region’s special challenges.

What makes your program unique?

COAF employs a comprehensive rural development strategy. Projects are conceived and developed from the ground up based on the needs of each community and the residents’ priorities. Our flexible approach ensures that the projects undertaken and their outcomes meet the specific needs of the villagers, their children and the region, with the objective of achieving long-term change and sustainability.

Our staff of 20 professionals in Armenia work on site side by side with village residents and community leaders as well as with local government officials. Our Founder and Chairman visits the region at least four times each year, and when he is in New York he is in frequent communication with the Armenia team. We also work collaboratively with many local and international agencies with expertise in specific fields; this further multiplies the impact of our resources.

Will the villages be self-sustaining in the future?

Our primary objective is eventual exit from a vibrant, functioning village. Thus, each program is designed so that the required resources, both financial and human, are available locally, ensuring a bright future that is not dependent on COAF.

Are local and national governments involved?

COAF is a non-governmental organization. We collaborate closely with local governments and consider them to be important allies in achieving our mission; indeed, we require co-investment at the village level. Nevertheless, we spend all funds independently of any governmental body.

COAF staff directly implements all programs that do not involve infrastructure, sometimes in collaboration with other organizations and with government consent as appropriate.

How do you approach scaling up?

COAF's model is flexible. In the years since we launched our program in Karakert, our model has iteratively evolved based on the successes and challenges we have faced, the uniqueness of each community in which we work and a constant flow of new ideas. It is this entrepreneurial approach with the eager participation of stakeholders that has allowed us to expand organically thus far. New communities have sought to work with us and we have accommodated their requests insofar as they fit within our current geographic and funding capacities. We believe that as we continue to optimize our model, further scaling up can be delivered with great success. To this end, we continue to formalize our model with meticulous documentation, monitoring and evaluation processes among our top priorities.

How do you evaluate the success of a project?

We engage in ongoing evaluation of our work, assessing it against specific, preset metrics. Given the collaborative nature of our process, evaluation also involves discussions within teams, with input from special advisors and board members. We go through an annual formal assessment of each program area, based on the accomplishment of established goals and measurement against preset indicators of tangible benefits such as utilization/participation rates, health measures, income levels, number employed, etc. In addition, COAF periodically engages independent evaluators with established track records and experience with international agencies such as the UN.

Formal assessments and evaluations are vital to our ongoing work, but we also measure our success in less quantitative ways. See COAF’s Success Stories.

With whom do you partner?

COAF partners with a wide variety of foundations, international organizations, corporate donors, governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For more information, see Partners.

Donations and Giving

How are you funded and how are resources allocated?

At the present, private donors provide the majority of our funding, but we also receive significant contributions from corporate and foundation sponsors (see Partners). In addition, we receive significant in kind and direct funding from international agencies.

We manage our funds conservatively. Our annual budget is based on need in the villages as well as evaluation of the prior year’s programs--what worked, what didn’t--and partnering opportunities. The Board of Directors reviews and approves the annual budget.

Do you have a planned giving program?

Yes, we can work with you and your tax advisor to facilitate gifts of appreciated securities or gifts from your will, trust or retirement plan. For more details, please see our section on Other Ways to Give.

What percentage of my gift is used for programs?

COAF spends 100% of the funds it receives from individual donors on the programs implemented on the ground in Armenia, since all administrative costs are underwritten by our Founder and Board members.

Can I direct my gift to a particular program?

COAF offers naming opportunities and other program-specific giving opportunities; please see Naming Opportunities. In addition, we are always happy to accommodate an individual donor’s preferences; we enjoy assisting individuals in leaving a legacy that is special to them. Please Contact Us to learn more.

Will my name or contact information be given to other organizations?

No, COAF has pledged never to share or exchange any donor’s personal information with a third party. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Is my gift tax-deductible?

Yes, all non-event related contributions are 100% tax deductible. Event-related contributions are deductible minus the value of any goods or services received in connection with your gift. We will provide this information when we acknowledge your gift. For more information, please Contact Us.

Are you tax exempt?

Children of Armenia Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

How can I become involved?

Just as COAF is constantly taking on new challenges and working in more villages, we strive to find more ways our supporters can contribute to our efforts. In addition to making a financial contribution, you can participate in our Sponsorship Project, helping to ensure that every deprived child receives the essentials necessary for basic healthy development. You can also make an in-kind donation. Many of the items gathered through such donations are used to enrich children’s educational experience and to bring modern medical care to the larger community. Alternatively, you can volunteer with COAF either in New York or on the ground in Armenia.