Founded in New York City, NY, in 1910, the Society, known at the time as the Armenian Red Cross, held its First Convention with delegates from 33 chapters, in Boston, Massachusetts on May 30, 1915. In March 1921, it was invited to participate in the 10th Convention of the International Red Cross, held in Geneva, Switzerland.
With the demise of the 1st Armenian Republic, no longer fulfilling the requirements of regulations set by international law, its participated in the International Red Cross conventions as an observer, and until February 26, 1946, it operated under the name of Armenian Relief Corps, at which date the 36 years old organization, duly incorporated, assumed its present name, Armenian Relief Society, Inc. The organization was recognized as exempt from Federal income tax in March 1949 and is exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Today, with entities in 27 countries and a membership of around 15,000, the ARS is an independent, non-sectarian philanthropic society serving the humanitarian and cultural needs of the Armenian people.
Maintaining high ethical standards, the Society fosters good fellowship and a common purpose among its world-wide membership, channeling their energies toward supporting the social, educational, health and welfare activities of Armenian communities. The ARS makes special appropriations for food, medicine and clothing in times of war, epidemics or natural disasters, bringing aid to the disabled, the sick and the needy, prisoners of war, orphans and refugees.
The Society continues to remain active through specific programs in furthering Armenian educational and cultural activity through the establishment and financial support of kindergartens, summer camps, schools and scholarship programs. Through the implementation of these diverse projects, the Society enhances its members’ self-educational and developmental goals by encouraging involvement in public service, and participation in the activities of organizations whose principles are compatible to those of the ARS.
Since the 1970-s, closely involved in UN activities, and as a consultative member of ECOSOC, the ARS, as an internationally involved NGO, remains a strong advocate of human rights, social justice and civil society around the world.