"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." An eternally famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi, and one of the many reasons why I have chosen to dedicate my life to education, and one of the reasons why I chose to donate to CAI. Thru the CAI institute, children from some of the most impoverished part of our world can receive an education that they so deserve. An education that will allow them to be the positive change we all wish to see in our world.
I sent this question to Charity Navigator on 12/20/2010 re: Central Asia Institute: The American Institute of Philanthropy has a detailed report about CAI in the April/May issue of Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report. I am concerned about this: "Having received many inquiries from donors about CAI, AIP sent a certified letter to the charity last year requesting its financial documents, including audited financial statements. When the charity failed to respond after many months, we followed up in November of 2009 and were told by CAI's operations director, Jennifer Sipes, that the charity "[does not] have audits." When asked why not, Sipes told AIP that CAI's board of directors is currently working with an attorney to "get this sorted out," but could not say for sure when an audit would be available, or what years it would include." Is this information consistent with your information? Seems pretty serious to me, and, if true, would jeopardize the 4 star rating of CAI. Disclosure: I am a donor to CAI but have no other affiliation and certainly no axe to grind.
Here is the response: Dear Stephen Smith, Thank you for contacting Charity Navigator. You can view their audited statements for FYE 2009 on their website: https://www.ikat.org/about-cai/financials/
Sincerely, Farhana Arastu
I sent the same question to Central Asia Institute on 12/22/2010 and received this response: Thank you for contacting us. Central Asia institute recognizes its obligations to provide information regarding its programs and activities for review by the public. To meet this obligation, our policy is to provide the reports and information to the official local, state and federal governmental regulatory agencies as required by law. These entities include the Internal Revenue Service and Attorney General Offices in the states in which we conduct activities. We address donor inquiries, and provide current financial information, including our tax Form 990 and our Audited Financial Statements, on our website (https://www.ikat.org/about-cai/financials/) to ensure transparency.
There are numerous charity watchdog organizations who have requested our information. Each have their own arbitrary analysis, guidelines, and application process to assess non-profit organizations. To apply with them all would be counterproductive to our limited overhead and low operational costs. Therefore, when donors request independent information, we direct them to organizations that receive their information and comply with IRS stipulations, such as Guidestar (http://www.guidestar.org) and Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/). We also direct donors to individual state attorney general offices, who can provide registration information on Central Asia Institute.
Please let me know if you have further questions or comments. Thanks for your support.
Central Asia Institute
Review from CharityNavigator
This organization has built hundreds of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan for children who otherwise would have had no opportunity to better themselves and help improve their communities. To learn more of this truly worthwhile organization visit their web site at www.ikat.org and www.penniesforpeace.org
Review from CharityNavigator
Incredible organization with amazing leadership, impact, focus. I've read both the books, heard its founder speak, and am starting this year to make an annual donation. I've also given his books to others. His way is so much better than going to war. I wish we were doing what he is doing everywhere we are using guns instead of diplomacy and time/money/goods to improve the status of people who have far less than we do.
Read the books: Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools! Our top military have read the books and learned a lot about community building among the Mujahideen and even the Taliban. One must sit down with the community leaders to make permanent progress. Support Greg and his dirty dozen, because the other NGO's and the corrupt governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan can't do the job.
Review from Guidestar
This organization has really hit on the BEST way to reduce terrorism and improve the lives of people in poor areas -- it builds sustainable schools that educate girls. Girls stick with their community and build families and communities. Education allows democracies to grow and countries to prosper. Prosperous communities don't breed terrorists, they breed citizens.