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49 Reviews
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May 5, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
May 5, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

Charities that do this type of work are desperately needed in places where war zones are present in Pakistan/Afghanistan. Greg M had the foresight to see the need for schools and then figure out a way to implement his ideas after voluntarily deciding to get involved in this activity. From the beginning as he states in his books he is a much better volunteer than a businessman or accountant. Unlike many of us fellow Americans safe in our homes he is risking his life every time he goes to Pakistan alone. Often he has to deal with the diverse and confusing Pakistani political scene to travel and to procure materials. Logistics are a nightmare and often require extreme patience and money to protect and store supplies. His campaign for building schools starts and ends with the local population in each village. This most significant fact was omitted in the 60 Minutes interview. On top of all this he has had to deal with religious leaders and issues that could have not only stopped him in his tracks from continuing but could have lead to his death because he would be viewed as an infidel as well as an American in terrorist infested areas.

I don't know of John Krakuaer's involvement other than that he is complaining about a fellow mountain climber and has some strange idea about what it takes to do the things Greg and his family have accomplished.
Clearly, some accounting must be made to clear up Greg's good name and to reaffirm his voluntarism. I plan to continue my support of CAI as I know of no other similar organization that has had such a positive impact on the Northern tribes of Pakistan.
They rely on CAI much more than on the broken promises of the Pakistani government.

The Great!

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

NO

Ways to make it better...

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

Conduct routine accounting of finances typical of charitable organizations like CAI.

May 3, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
May 3, 2011
2 people found this review helpful

The news about CAI's alleged fraudulent activities continue to grow. I would like to know how Charity Navigator can continue to list them as a 4-star charity given the amount of data that is now available.

The Great!

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

I'm sure this organization has done loads of good, but the lack of transparency and truthfulness must be considered.

Ways to make it better...

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

Keep the good work but fire everyone and develop a new, professional management team.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

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

Some

April 29, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
April 29, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

I have discontinued support of this organization because the funds are not being used properly. Something is amiss when travel accounts for more than 50% of service expenditures. Something is amiss when no per diem monies received by GM are returned to the organization despite it paying for his travel to events where he earns per diem (sometimes first-class according to the 990). Something is amiss when the CAI publication purchases exceed $700,000 and the obvious purchase option is GM's books. I don't agree with the conclusion of the internal review of potential conflict of interest; GM has a conflict of interest that has not been adequately resolved.

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...

Resolve the conflict of interest - if GM wants to keep his book revenues and speaker per diems, then he has to pay his travel expenses. CAI should only pay travel expenses associated with direct school support activities (e.g., to school sites).

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.

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