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46 Reviews
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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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December 27, 2012
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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

February 25, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
February 25, 2012
2 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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December 26, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
December 26, 2011
3 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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October 10, 2011
6 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
October 10, 2011
6 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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September 23, 2011
7 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
September 23, 2011
7 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.

The Great!

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

My home reading the books.

Ways to make it better...

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

keep up the good work.

August 25, 2011
4 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
2 previous reviews - show all
June 12, 2011

I beleive all the allegations have been answered by Greg Mortonsen and CAI. I believe this "warning" of these unproven accusations should be removed from Charity Navigator. I believe that the mon... more

August 25, 2011
4 people found this review helpful

I want C.N. to remove their "warning" as I belive CAI has satisfactorily answered all the allegations. It's over. I have confidence in their belief that education is the only way. Hey, all that killing and all that bombing have not changed a thing. Education both in the US and Pakistan and Afghanistan is our only hope in getting them out of the stone age, giving women the freedom of choices they deserve.

The Great!

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

Saw Greg speak in person and can see/feel his passion for these people.

Ways to make it better...

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

None that I am aware of.

June 12, 2011

I beleive all the allegations have been answered by Greg Mortonsen and CAI. I believe this "warning" of these unproven accusations should be removed from Charity Navigator. I believe that the money is being used appropriately and I suspect some of you critics may not know a lot about his work...he is the attraction, he is the one that must travel, and sometimes to places where commercial planes, etc. would not be practical. He recently spoke at a small town in Michigan and spent hours signing autographs adn speaking to people personally. How many of us would kill our selves for a cause we fully believe in? I will continue to support this man. His approach, I beleive, is the only way to change things in the Middle East. And it's a lot cheaper than war.

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...

None known.

April 18, 2011

I'd like to know what the ulterior motive behind this is. And if it's on TV we should all believe it right? If you check their website you will see that questions about Greg's "use" of funds has already legal been reviewed and found to be alright. I'm sure the CEOs of other charities do not fly around the country and pay from their own pocket. I saw him speak here in Michigan last year...he is obviously passionate about helping these kids, he stayed and signed autographs personally for well over an hour, speaking with each of us personally and seemed tired, but never rushed anyone that wanted to talk. His schedule is day after day after day of travel and you sure can't depend upon commerical flights for dependability. Reference the salaries of a few other charities who are having less of an impact on the world and our future and compare salaries. The only way to stop the hatred of the US by these countries who are uneducated and secluded from the real world is education. I couldn't care less if he "condensed" his Korphe experience, so what. What matters is what is accomplished now. He spent a lot of years of his own effort to get this going. Please tell me what the hidden agenda of this Krakauer guy is???

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...

Be more forthcomign about expenses to avoid garbage like this in the future.

July 19, 2011
6 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
July 19, 2011
6 people found this review helpful

My husband, a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Afghanistan during the 1970's, and I have been steady supporters of CAI since we initially learned of its activities several years ago. The building and schools and the training of teachers, focusing on female students, is of prime importance to the future of Afghanistan in our experience. All the information from CAI rings true to us. We follow their website, meet with their personnel, and attend their meetings on the West Coast.

The "60 minutes" program appeared to be based primary on a disgruntled employee. CAI has mounted all its financials on its website. We continue to support the group fully and gratefully.

The Great!

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

Learning from other Peace Corps volunteers of the positive impact of CAI schools and teachers on Afghan students.

Ways to make it better...

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

Urge them to continue their work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, working with their expanded Board and other advisors.

July 4, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from CharityNavigator
July 4, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

NAME ONE ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BUILT ANY SCHOOLS IN THESE CONTRIES???? HAS 60 MINUTES BEEN INVOLVED IN ANYTHING HUMANITARIAN IN THE US OR THE WORLD??? DOES DESTROYING AIS HELP ANYONE??? WHY DID 60 MINUTES DO THIS INSTEAD OF USING A HELPING APPROACH???

The Great!

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

BELIEVING THAT PEOPLE ARE GOOD AND WANT TO HELP OTHERS

Ways to make it better...

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

SATISFY THE PUBLICS DESIRE FOR RECORD KEEPING AND TRANSPARRENCY.

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