The Tufenkian Foundation was launched in 1998, with a view to address the most pressing social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges facing Armenia. It was founded by entrepreneur James Tufenkian, who, by the late 1990s, had been using his business ventures to promote social justice for over a decade - first in Nepal, then in his ancestral homeland of Armenia. However, it soon became apparent that complex and long-standing issues hindering the development of Armenia and the well-being of its citizens could not be solved by market forces alone. Instead, they required commitment, innovation and bold action also from the non-profit sector.
For almost two decades, the Tufenkian Foundation has worked to meet this need by modeling new approaches to long-standing challenges and pioneering projects that stand to create changes that can ripple through multiple layers of the Armenian society.
We have completed more than 70 projects in Armenia to combat poverty, promote education, protect the natural environment, renew national, civic, cultural and religious values and foster social justice and respect for human rights. Since 2002, we have pursued a combination of hands-on reforestation, community initiatives and public advocacy campaigns to help Armenians secure a better environment and better environmental policies.
While the focus of our work in Armenia is not political, many of our challenges are directly tied to other major problems facing Armenia, including the rule of law, corruption, disempowerment, short-term mentalities, as well as energy security and affordability.
In 2003, we expanded our scope and mission to include the liberated borderlands of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) that have strategic significance for the peace, security and prosperity of Armenians everywhere. These embattled territories, that bridge Armenia and Artsakh making them effectively whole, are in urgent need of improved infrastructure, active resettlement, economic development and livelihood opportunities.
Throughout the past 15 years, we have responded to this need by building and renovating houses, schools and clinics, supporting wounded soldiers, building and expanding water supply and irrigation systems, cultivating Artsakh's fertile lands and creating opportunities for employment and economic development, as well as fostering fair and balanced media coverage. In addition to undertaking various construction, development and resettlement efforts in more than 20 villages across Artsakh, we have built a new village from ground up — the Arajamugh village near the Southern border of Artsakh.
Through a range of large-scale projects that create tangible and sustainable outcomes, we aim to rebuild, resettle and revive the liberated lands of Artsakh, and achieve social justice in Armenia.