Central Asia Institute

Rating: 3.08 stars   50 reviews

Issues: International

Location: PO Box 7209 Bozeman MT 59771 USA

Mission: Central Asia Institute (CAI) works with communities in remote areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, to promote education, especially for girls. At home and abroad, CAI is committed to sharing its expert knowledge with the public. Together we can cultivate peace, nurture hope, and change the world, one child at a time.
Results: Central Asia Institute has: - Built and or supported just under 300 schools - Constructed or sponsored 48 women’s vocational and literacy centers - Created 34 public health programs - Established 9 scholarship programs - Undertaken 16 community programs
Programs: Since its founding in 1996, Central Asia Institute has:
  • Built and or supported just under 300 schools
  • Constructed or sponsored 48 women’s vocational and literacy centers
  • Created 34 public health programs
  • Established 9 scholarship programs
  • Undertaken 16 community programs
  • CAI’s service-learning program, Pennies for Peace (P4P), was started in 1994 to teach children that a little goes a long way. By raising pennies to donate to impoverished schoolchildren in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, kids discover their potential as humanitarians and philanthropists. While a penny is virtually worthless in many societies, it can open the door to literacy for a child in Central Asia.
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    EIN 51-0376237
    406.585.7841
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    Community Reviews

    Rating: 1 stars  

    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.

    Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

    Unlikely

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

    Some

    When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

    2011

     
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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Rating: 1 stars  

    1 person found this review helpful

    People have to start looking into more and more charities. The public is just taking for granted that when the word charity is involved, that the money u give is being used in the charities best interest. What I am finding, is that alot of charities are benefiting contractors or members of these charities or services provided to these charities are profiting greatly and only a small % of funds are going to help the charities mission...please investigate the %of money made vs. money given to charity grants (not salaries, not expenses, not questionable payments to 3rd parties...one on my radar is Susan B Coleman that spends over 70 % for salaries and other questionable expenses...hundreds of millions collected for the AWARENESS OF BREAST CANCER...Im aware, how spending hundreds of millions on cure, research, care, and prevention

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

    60 minutes yea

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

    kind of a wasteful charity in my opinion

     
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    Rating: 5 stars  

    4 people found this review helpful

    Yes, I saw the 60 minutes report -- but did anyone actually take the time to read his responses (and the CAI's board of directors) to the 60 minutes report? You know, his side of the story? The fact that perhaps the reporters who questioned folks in Pakistan and Afghanistan might have talked to the wrong people? 60 minutes raised some good questions, but they gave him less than ONE WEEK and were in his FACE demanding an answer. Anyone take a look at the CAI tax returns on the CAI website? Mr. Mortensen was making $28k in 1996. In 1997, it was $31k. In 2003, something like $50k. TO LEAD AN ENTIRE ORGANIZATION AND BUST HIS TAIL DOING SOMETHING NOONE ELSE WAS WILLING TO DO! You can start criticizing the day you go over to Afghanistan and build a school. Give the guy a break. His compensation now takes that into account (again, read the response from the CAI board on the 60 minutes website, at the end of the article). Perhaps he needs to hire a PR person or a business manager to handle the reporting better, or hire someone to track exactly how many schools are built and visit them each once a year to check on their progress, but Krakauer himself said that Mortensen's a good guy with a good heart. Don't believe everything you read, but don't believe everything 60 minutes reports. Everything is ALWAYS slanted, on both ends of it. I'm giving it 5 stars to compensate for the ignorance of some of the other reviewers.

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

    None.

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

    Hire a better PR person to help field the demands of a demanding American public.

     
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    Role: General Member of the Public
    Rating: 1 stars  

    2 people found this review helpful

    Not impressed... if I want data on a publicly trade company I can access that data without registering, or being "authorized" to review the data. At first glance it appears that you are hiding something. I bought the book, but I have not donated and at this point will not donate.

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

    I have no experience with this organization.

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

    Transparency

     
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    Review from Guidestar
    Rating: 1 stars  

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

    No

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

    Some

     
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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Role: General Member of the Public
    Rating: 1 stars  

    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.

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

    Friends who become engaged in educating girls.

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

    Shut it down.

     
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    Review from Guidestar
    Rating: 2 stars  

    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"?

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

    reading his books

    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>

     
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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Rating: 1 stars  

    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/

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

    the internet

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

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

     
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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Rating: 2 stars  

    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.

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

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

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

    Greater transparency.

    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

     
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    Review from CharityNavigator
    Role: General Member of the Public
    Rating: 1 stars  

    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.

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

    N/A

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

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

     
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    Review from Guidestar