A Century of Service and Strength by Armenian Women

March 1, 2024

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we look back at how The Armenian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) started and how it’s grown thanks to the determination and compassion of Armenian women.

AWWA’s story began in 1915 when ten immigrant Armenian women in Boston formed the women’s service organization as a non-profit. Originally, the organization focused on aiding and promoting the Armenian people’s moral, intellectual, physical, and social well-being.

When the group was in its early infancy during WWI, these “patriotic Armenian women” (as they described themselves in Armenian) began aiding Armenian orphans and shipping clothing and supplies overseas.

In 1930, The Great Depression demanded that the organization refocus its service locally. By 1935, the organization officially renamed and incorporated itself as the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association, Inc. The group now focused on providing fuel, clothing, and other necessities to the local Armenian community.

In 1948, after 14 years in pursuit of its goal, AWWA founded a “Home for the Aged.” This operation focused on caring for elderly Armenians in the Boston area.

In 1960, AWWA expanded this initiative by building the Armenian Nursing Home—a full-care nursing facility, on the same property as the Home for the Aged. The nursing home also provided some rehabilitative care in response to the needs of the community.

In 1979, AWWA expanded the Armenian Nursing Home to its present-day 83-bed facility in Jamaica Plain. In 1996 the name of the facility was officially changed to Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ANRC) after short-term rehabilitation was officially added to the organization’s focus. This name has become synonymous with superior elder care in Boston over the last 28 years.

Fast forward to 2004, AWWA expanded its reach back to Armenia by sponsoring the Hanganak Elder Program and Clinic (Hanganak). Hanganak’s mission is to provide medical care, food, fuel, and social support to elders who live alone in the Artsakh and Askeran regions. Before the forced evacuation of the region in September 2023, Hanganak was assisting over 300 beneficiaries.

In 2022, ANRC took another giant stride forward by contracting with Legacy Lifecare for the day-to-day management of facility operations. Legacy Lifecare is a Massachusetts-based, non-profit, management service known for providing empathy-driven senior care and sophisticated management systems.

Today, AWWA continues to be led by strong Armenian women with a passion for supporting Armenian heritage and caring for elders.

If you are interested in getting involved and supporting our mission (including serving on the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, or as a Member), please email us at