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46 Reviews
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April 29, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
April 29, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

Guidestar apparently does not rate these charities, but must regurgitate whatever marketing comes from the organization. Don't just watch "60 Minutes", read Jon Krakauer's unbiased report. I am only adding this ZERO (but made into a 1 because the system does not allow below that) rating to neutralize some of the 5star opinions listed here. BUT I am informed.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Friends who become engaged in educating girls.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Shut it down.

April 23, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 23, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

I think Charity Navigator needs to explain how it arrived at its 4 star rating (and stands by it). In particular, how idd you calculate that 88% of funds go for "Program Expenses"?

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

reading his books

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

A large part of the royalties of Mortenson's books should go to CAI>

April 21, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 21, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

The fact that this has 4 stars is a major blow to charity navigator's credibility.
$4,607,300 spent on "domestic outreach"(telling people in America about the problem) while 3,954,644 was spent on actually building and supporting schools.
"A donation to Central Asia Institute, at least in
2009, was more likely to be spent on costs related to educating people in the U.S. about problems in Pakistan and Afghanistan than on helping children in central Asia with their education." -American Institute of Philanthropy
Having these two completely different costs lumped in together as "program costs" on charity navigator's rating page is just not helpful. The rating should compare how well the finances line up with what the charity purports to care about, not what they can legally define as "program costs". If CAI rebranded as a charity partially devoted to educating Americans about the importance of education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they would have a much harder time gaining funding.
My faith in Charity Navigator is seriously shaken, and the donor advisory warning is ridiculous: "Charity Navigator, as an impartial evaluator of publicly reported financial information, takes no position as to the seriousness of the issue(s) nor does it seek to confirm or verify the accuracy of such reports."
Why have a rating system then? Reporting numbers without context is just helping the organization whitewash it's numbers and lend false credibility. This is serious problem.

sources:
http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/CentralAsiaInstitute.html
https://www.ikat.org/about-cai/financials/

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the internet

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Take a serious look at what the goal of the organization is.

April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

Shame on Sixty Minutes for creating a tempest in a teapot!

Had Sixty Minutes investigated Greg Mortenson himself, I believe they would have found a modest man, living rather modestly with his wife and 2 children in Bozeman Montana. No yachts, no jets, no vacation homes on every continent,
no bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, no garage full of expensive cars. In short, no evidence of using CAI funds for his personal benefit.

Instead, Sixty Minutes published ugly innuendos made by Jon Krakauer, a former CAI board member who has had no personal experience with the organization for over a decade and who, for reasons known only to Mr.Krakauer, chose today to throw stones at Greg Mortenson's Schools.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have read Greg Mortenson's books, and have heard him speak on behalf of women and young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I have seen first hand impact he has made raising awareness of the plight of women and girls in this important region of the world.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Conduct annual audit reports.

April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful


SCAM

I looked at their website... It reads like a hustle.

I would not trust this organization.

- Just my subjective belief (opinion).

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have not.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make them fully reporting.

April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 20, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

Regardless of whether or not CAI has exaggerated its reports, one should pay particular attention to the impact that CAI has had at the grassroots levels - on the "local" populations. It appears to me that those higher up the bureaucratic chain are quick to join the bandwagon in pointing out how CAI could have been sounder in its decisions, or conducted better work. However, at the end of the day, let us be realistic. We are dealing with areas of the world where the government, NATO, or US security forces had a minimal presence and most definitely did not address the education needs of the marginalized. CAI has been performing and continues to perform great feats under great challenges.

Thank you

A helpful article to put what I have said into perspective:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13125953

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My conversations with a few individuals from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

With better transparency and less pay for Mr. Mortenson, CAI should be supported in its work. I think his personal salary in comparison to CAI’s revenues is too high, especially when your compare his salary to those leading international organizations such as the American Red Cross. I suppose further investigations over time will provide CAI the opportunity to restore is image.

More feedback...

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

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

The area where it functions. The scope of its work.

April 19, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 19, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

After reading the book I called CAI and offered to fully fund the construction of a school, however it had to be a specific school and I had to see a specific budget as well as see pictures of the site and village served before construction as well as during construction and upon completion. I was told, "We do not do that." I was invited to give money for a construction fund, but was told it wasn't possible to fund a specific school. I was astonished. I found that the board chair was a professor, so I got his e-mail that way and made my offer directly to him. He didn't even reply. I thought this was very strange that they would so easily refuse $30-$40K, but this fits very well with the charges that have come up.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

They refused the offer. Their board chair didn't even honor my offer with a reply to my e-mail.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Fully document each school constructed with locations, photographs, receipts, budgets, etc. so that if there was any question how many schools had been built or where they were, those questions could be immediately answered. I think this organization should accept restricted gifts. I think this organization should immediately and enthusiastically respond to any offer of $30-40K.

April 18, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 18, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

I'm only responding to the "60 Minutes" piece. Despite the glowing defenses made here, I think prospective donors should watch the piece and make their own conclusions. There is a transparency issue with nonprofits who believe avoiding journalists -- even "yellow" journalists -- will benefit them. By not participating in the dialog, it creates the impression that the charity has something to hide. In the case of this charity, at the least, it creates an uncertainty about the Board's veracity. At worst, it undermines trust in the nonprofit's governance. I'm putting this in the "Nice idea, but . . ." category. I have no problem with Mortenson's making $, either directly or indirectly through the charity. It's not even unseemly; this is America. The lack of transparency is my complaint.

I must confess that CharityNavigator's response to the report seems a bit complacent. True, they're just rating based on the public reports, but maybe it's time to look for additional metrics. I don't think this charity will be in the situation that the Philadelphia Orchestra finds itself anytime soon.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A. I'm evaluating the charity as a prospective donor.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Greater transparency.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

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

Some

How did you learn about this organization?

DoD press releases and 60 minutes story

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

April 18, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
April 18, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

Need to release yearly finacial statements and to have an audit every year befor I would give money to this organization.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Release yearly finacial statements and to have an audit every year.

April 18, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
April 18, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

The "60 Minutes" expose is not the first time this program has been sloppy, at best. Before detailing another example that is not well known I wonder why they challenge someone who risks his life to make a difference in an admirable way, something not done by anyone else--and there have nearly two decades for someone to replicate his activities.

Did the program compare Mortenson's salary with that of others in similar situations? Nope. And it is not excessive. Did the program take into account the risks Mortenson faces when he appears publicly--because he has friendships with and helps Muslims, who are viewed in this country today the way Japanese-Americans were viewed during WWII?

Did the program include Tom Friedman, who wrote about his experience with Mortenson when a new school was opened? No.

Too often "60 Minutes" shows its fondness for yellow journalism.

And now the vulture media--the parrots--repeat and exaggerate everything concluded by the program.

Now for another grievance about "60 Minutes." In December 1996, featuring Morley Safer, there was segment about the new viatical settlement industry. Safer seemed to praise it. He was widely quoted by viatical companies as stating this was "the perfect no-risk investment." The phrase was taken out of context, but it led to tens of thousands of elderly people investing in fraudulent viatical contracts.

I contacted the program, asking to speak to several anchors, finally left a message asking them to retract the apparent endorsement and run a correction. Silence.

A number of viatical companies even used a video of that segment as a marketing device.

In a follow-up message I told "60 Minutes" that they were co-conspirators, helping to induce people into becoming fraud victims.

No response. In my mind, "60 Minutes"chooses not to be responsible.

ln my mind, the veracity of reports on "60 Minutes" should be questioned whenever they attempt an expose.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've read reports of Mortenson's success from other sources, unbiased, objective sources who were witnesses to his achievements. AND, the IRS forms for the organization are readily available to the public. I do not have a problem with how this organization is run.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have an audit committee since that seems to be the only thing lacking.

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