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February 6, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
February 6, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

David Starnes joins CAI team as new executive director
Will move to Bozeman in late Febuary.
Central Asia Institute announced today that it has hired a new executive director, David Starnes.

David, a 57-year-old father of three, will join us in late February after winding down
his work with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives-Pakistan. He brings to the job more than 30 years experience as a professional and organizational development consultant, working with nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations, including 19 years as executive director of the Baltimore-Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center.

David joins us just as we are gearing up for the 2013 building and maintenance season. In the past year, bolstered by our supporters' continued confidence, we sustained our commitment to more than 300 existing projects, and initiated 60 new projects: 20 in Pakistan, 36 in Afghanistan, and four in Tajikistan. As most of our projects are in the remote Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir mountains, springtime is the busiest season.

"I am looking forward to working with CAI's team both in the United States and in the communities it serves," David said. "CAI has made a profound impact on people's awareness of the need for education and community health initiatives in the remote and rural villages of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. I'm excited to be on board."

Greg Mortenson, CAI's co-founder, served as executive director from CAI's founding in 1996 until December 2011. He remains on staff, playing a supportive role, primarily with overseas programs and relationships. He will also continue to help with fundraising.

"With a new, capable board of directors and the experienced leadership of David Starnes, CAI is ready to move strongly into the future," Greg said.

David currently serves as the deputy country representative for USAID-Office of Transition Initiatives in Pakistan. He has been in Pakistan since January 2010 working with the Pakistan government in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province to provide basic support and stabilization services for communities in the critically important border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prior to taking the USAID post, David spent a month as a volunteer in Jordan, teaching English at a Palestinian refugee camp. From 2008 to 2009, David worked as a senior program analyst with Stanley, Baker, Hill LLC in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-Office of Safety and Health in Iraq.

Stateside, David worked with Outward Bound USA for more than 20 years in a variety of senior executive roles, including his years at the Baltimore center, Outward Bound's first urban center. He worked with local government officials to initiate the Philadelphia center, and played a key leadership role in shaping Outward Bound USA's long-term strategy on urban centers.

David earned both his bachelor's degree in parks and recreation administration and master's in public administration at Western Illinois University. He has three adult children, Justin, 28, Rachael, 26, and Sarah, 24.

CAI launched a nationwide search to fill the executive director's position and received dozens of qualified applicants, said Steve Barrett, chairman of the CAI board of directors.

"CAI is excited to have someone of David's background and experience join us in our mission to promote literacy and education, especially for girls," said Steve, a Bozeman attorney and former member of the Montana University System's Board of Regents. "David's extensive experience in community development and his past three years in Pakistan uniquely qualify him to help CAI continue to fulfill its mission of the last 17 years. Our board is thrilled and we look forward to David joining our team."

Last August, Greg noted on the CAI Communique: "Being executive director of Central Asia Institute is a unique task with incredible rewards. More than a job, it is a calling. ... We look forward to the added vitality that this person will bring to the CAI team - especially during these particularly challenging times in the communities CAI serves in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan."


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2012

December 27, 2012
4 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
December 27, 2012
4 people found this review helpful

I am not a little disturbed by your information on Central Asia Institute, as it is badly out of date. Greg Mortenson resigned as Executive Director some time ago and recently has left its Board of Directors in order to preserve what has been an important mission of both Mortenson and the Institute. I shall continue to contribute.

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November 4, 2012
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November 4, 2012
4 people found this review helpful

I feel Greg Mortenson is one of the great men of the world and question whether that can be said about 60 Minutes or Jon Krachauer. One of the reviewers commented that his was an impartial report. How do we know that? Obviously, Mortenson is not necessarily good at handling money and it appears that the institute has recognized that and is now using him where his talents are strongest. How many of us can say that we have done so much to change the world for better?

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2010

June 5, 2012
5 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
June 5, 2012
5 people found this review helpful

I've spent many years in Afghanistan. I donated good money to the CAI nearly a decade ago. Greg Mortenson has been proven a thief. Believe me when I say this: putting up schools in these countries cost's nearly nothing out of pocket, but costs nearly everything out of heart and passion. When I was in the Marines, we built three schools in 1 DAY! You know what took 6 months? Getting students there, getting teachers to stay, getting girls there and getting supplies. Mr. Mortenson, you may think one day that people will see your overall effort as positive. Don't, for a second, think that I will. Spending $1.5 million on domestic travel for yourself. What you've done is beyond forgivable - not because we can't forgive, because we must forgive - but because a man of your malicious moral fiber can never be upstanding. There's a reason you spent your twenties living in a car - if that was even true - because you can only steal your wealth.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

March 16, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
March 16, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

O and rachels beautiful and she makes me smile 24/7

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Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

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Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

February 25, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
February 25, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

Charity Navigator does not do itse reputation any good by assuming guilt based on allegations against Central Asia Institute. CN should continue to display the CAU financial information, and put an advisory about the allegations, but let the donors make up their own mind.

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2011

January 1, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
January 1, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

I have no idea why people would want you to take down your "Donor Advisory"; I, for one, appreciate it and it's one of the reasons I use Charity Navigator! No, simply reading the reviews and other info doesn't speak for itself - the advisory is helpful. As a co-founder of a non-profit that works with war-injured children, I'm appalled at the "salary" and perks that Greg Mortenson was taking from his "charity". I think what the CAI does is wonderful, but without removing Mortenson from the Board, I can't have much faith that the money is going where it should.

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Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

December 26, 2011
4 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
December 26, 2011
4 people found this review helpful

I agree with the other reviewers. Please just present the facts and treat them like any other charity. Information about their financials would be very useful. Links to outside web articles and a blinking red advisory seems excessive.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

October 10, 2011
7 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
October 10, 2011
7 people found this review helpful

I agree with other reviewers who have asked you to simply post the charity's information and financials as you do for other charities so potential donors can make their decisions based on data. I believe you lose some credibility when you allow news magazines and authors trying to sell their inflammatory books to make your evaluations.

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Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

September 23, 2011
8 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
September 23, 2011
8 people found this review helpful

Charity Navigator, please take down the Donor Advisory. Just post their financial information and let it speak for itself. On their website, CAI says they have averaged spending 83% of their revenues on programs. Maybe recently they've been saving up, because of all the added revenue from the books. It would be wasteful to spend money that fast, just to say that their spending percentage met a certain requirement. They obviously have a larger revenue stream than ever before, and they want to be careful how they spend it. It takes a lot of time to lay the social and political groundwork for a new school. They can't just say, "let's build 100 schools this month, because we have the money for it." I've been a loyal donar to CAI for about a year, and all this controversy honestly scared my wife and I enough that we've stopped our monthly contributions to them. Reading the reviews of others on this site, and looking at CAI's site has reminded me how awesome they are. We'll be giving monthly to them again soon.

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