Our chapter is grateful to the Altounians. When we launched campaigns for the AGBU Global Relief Fund, they responded multiple times—and with great generosity—in support of relief efforts in Lebanon, Artsakh, and other crises.
Talia Jebejian Bouldoukian
An “active Armenian” in today’s Diaspora has many meanings, but the Altounians of Toronto are an exemplary definition.
Vasken Altounian has a lifelong bond with AGBU—he attended its Demirdjian and Hovagimian-Manoogian schools; spent time with friends at Beirut’s AGBU Alex Manoogian Center; and his father was the AGBU Lebanon and then Toronto chairman for decades combined. But the most exciting AGBU moments came during Vasken’s professional life: the opportunity to spend time with revered AGBU Lifetime President Alex Manoogian at his Masco headquarters in Detroit.
“During breaks or lunch, I would visit Mr. Manoogian, and we would talk about AGBU, his early days starting Masco and the founding of Delta Faucet. A rare opportunity, indeed,” recalls Vasken.
A mechanical engineering degree came first from the American University of Beirut, followed by an MS in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University, and an MBA from Indiana University. During his 24 years at Delta Faucet Company, Vasken was eventually promoted to President of Delta Faucet Canada (1999-2005), and made Toronto home for good.
Along the way, he met his wife, Ani Koundakjian, at a New York City birthday. They married in 1992, and their son, Haig, was born in 1996. Currently, Vasken is the president of White Cap in Canada, a distributor of specialty construction and industrial products.
While Ani was also born in Beirut, she spent her formative years in Ottawa, Canada. With a sincere desire to serve her community, she began volunteer work in middle school. AGBU noticed and awarded her tuition assistance at Ottawa University. She has reciprocated time and again within the Toronto community. Among her countless efforts, she began her involvement with the Canadian Diocese’s Camp Ararat in 2005 and has been leading the program since 2014.
In 2019, the Canadian government awarded her the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which honors citizens who continuously commit their time to volunteering.
AGBU Toronto Executive Director Salpi Der Ghazarian notes, “Our chapter is grateful to the Altounians. When we launched campaigns for the AGBU Global Relief Fund, they responded multiple times—and with great generosity—in support of relief efforts in Lebanon, Artsakh, and other crises.”
For some 30 years, the Altounians have donated to numerous AGBU endeavors locally and globally, an easy choice for Vasken:
“AGBU’s schools provided me with the best education, and instilled pride in our heritage. Such institutions were founded post-Genocide, when most survivors were still finding their footing, and my generation benefitted from the sacrifices of these visionaries. It’s now our turn to ensure that we can keep building further and higher in Armenia. Our homeland’s needs currently are somewhat analogous to those of the Diaspora’s early years, so it feels natural to join the journey. AGBU is the best-suited organization to perpetuate this vision.”
This article was featured in the 2023 release of AGBU Impact Magazine. For more information on the AGBU Global Relief Fund, click here.