Who we are
Ms. Eliza Minasyan of Yerevan, Armenia, became Executive Director/Coordinator of the Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) February 2, 2011. She came to the Jinishian/PCUSA office after having served the previous five years as the Executive Director of the Jinishian Memorial Foundation in the Republic of Armenia. In this position she directed 15 staff members and managed community-based projects and programs in civil society, community health development, education, and economic development throughout Armenia. She came to her new position with extensive experience building ecumenical relationships and networking with international and local organizations. She had been of extraordinary assistance helping the Louisville management team carry out the strategic planning process for all of JMP sites, specifically Lebanon and Syria.
Previously Ms. Minasyan served four years with Heifer International of Little Rock Arkansas, as Coordinator for Planning, Evaluation, and Training in the Heifer’s Central and Eastern European program. While carrying out those duties, she traveled regularly and extensively from her office in Yerevan, Rep. of Armenia, to Central and Eastern European Heifer International offices in 10 countries, from Albania to Russia.
Ms. Minasyan is a graduate of State Engineering University of Armenia (1993) and the American University of Armenia, MBA (1998). She also worked for two years as a consultant at the Yerevan-based Business Support Center, with extensive training experiences and field work in rural Armenia.
Ms. Minasyan succeeded Rev. Victor Makari, JMP Coordinator/Executive Director, and Sara Todd, Program Manager.
Click on the questions below to learn more about the Jinishian program.
Who was Vartan H. Jinishian?
How and when was the Jinishian Memorial Program founded?
Why is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) involved?
Where is the Jinishian Memorial Program active today?
How is the Jinishian Memorial Program administered?
Vartan H. Jinishian was born in 1870 in Marash, Turkey, the oldest son of the Reverend Haroutune Jinishian and Mrs. Catherine Jinishian. He later named his endowment fund in honor of his parents, emigrants to America in the early 20th century. Near the end of the 19th century, he moved to France and finally to the United States. After arriving in New York, his first job was as an English teacher. He later joined a firm owned by another Armenian, Mihran Karageuzian. He became a partner in that firm, and it pioneered the manufacture of oriental rugs and carpets. Vartan H. Jinishian was also a collector of fine art and imported oriental carpets. He invested in real estate in New York City, especially in Manhattan. He maintained membership in both the Armenian Evangelical Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
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 United States. The first steps of the Jinishian Memorial Program were in Aleppo, Syria, and Beirut, Lebanon.
The last will and testament of Vartan H. Jinishian named the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as the recipient of the bulk of his estate. The church, therefore, has a legal obligation to carry out his wishes as expressed in the will. This was agreed to in 1966 before Jinishian's death. It continues to be possible since the social and religious purposes set forth in Jinishian's will coincide with the broad ecumenical and mission goals of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Expenses incurred in carrying out Vartan H. Jinishian's stated purposes in his will are borne by the fund.
JMP carries out the purposes for which it was established at seven different sites in five countries, the Republic of Armenia and four countries of the Middle East. In areas where governmental social services are deficient or nonexistent, JMP offers medical, social and employment assistance to poor and needy persons as well as holistic programs, such as summer camps, for children and youth and otherwise vulnerable population sectors of the local Armenian communities.
Read illustrative stories from the Republic of Armenia and the Middle East describing how the Jinishian Memorial Program is being used.
The Fund is invested and held by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation. International program delivery is the responsibility of the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) administrators of the Jinishian Memorial Program benefit from regular advice and counsel as offered by the United States Advisory Committee (USAC) as established in the Jinishian will and local advisory committees in each of the seven sites where the program is active.