Jinishian Memorial Program

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An ecumenical relief and development agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) "enables Armenians in need to move from poverty and despair to self-sufficiency and hope -- through relief, development, and spiritual uplift."

JMP is a ministry of the PC(USA)'s General Assembly Council and is housed in its Worldwide Ministries Division. It is directly involved in community-based development, the delivery of social services and relief projects to thousands of Armenians. It is particularly attuned to the socially vulnerable of Armenian societies, especially the elderly who live without pension support or on very limited income, as well as families with children, whose income is below the poverty level. Vocational training, use of revolving loan funds, summer camps and housing assistance have been utilized.

No formal education or schooling assistance is provided, since the donor, Vartan H. Jinishian, observed in his will that basic education should be the primary responsibility of each nation's government. He also observed that other Armenian organizations are frequently involved in formal education and schooling, and he preferred to make support originating from his resources available for other needs of the communities.

Increasingly, JMP affirms a self-help approach to economic development, which encourages the poor to identify their own needs, define their goals, plan for solutions, and organize themselves to attain the objectives they have chosen. Community-based development is being introduced in three of the five countries where JMP is working.

One of the unique features of JMP is its mandate to provide programs of spiritual uplift in partnership with the Armenian Christian denominations. Its ecumenical commitments are evident in the composition of advisory committees who provide advice and guidance to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and JMP staff in the various countries.

In 1966, when he was 95 years old, Vartan H. Jinishian and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) agreed to establish an endowment fund under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Although administered by the church, the agreement stipulated that it should seek the advice and counsel of a joint advisory committee, composed of five persons, both ethnic Armenians and Presbyterian officials. In the years after his death in July 1966, the fund benefited from more than $9 million in bequests. Only the interest and dividends of this fund were to be used to benefit poor and needy Armenians who lived outside the U.S. The first steps of the Jinishian Memorial Program were in Aleppo, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. In 2000, JMP opened the Jinishian Memorial Foundation in Yerevan.

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