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Member advisory: Central Asia Institute

18 Apr

On April 17, Central Asia Institute (our current Peace beneficiary) and founder Greg Mortenson were the subject of an unfavorable report on the CBS news program 60 Minutes. Allegations include false or exaggerated claims by Mortenson and mismanagement of funds.

Supporters of Mortenson and CAI have countered, many accusing 60 Minutes of poor reporting and misrepresentations. Even charity watchdogs are split on the organization: Charity Navigator gives CAI its highest rating (4 stars) for efficiency, capacity, and overall, while the American Institute of Philanthropy has questioned the organization’s accountability and transparency.

Current detractors still acknowledge that Mortenson and CAI have done a tremendous amount of good, while even supporters have winced at the seeming evasiveness.

It’s important to respond carefully in situations like these. The immediate public backlash that follows accusations against a charity or business can do deep and lasting damage whether or not the accusations turn out to be justified. Rather than pull the organization from our current slate, Foundation Beyond Belief has decided to retain CAI as our Peace charity but to fully advise members of the current controversy so they can make an informed decision about their own funds. To reduce or increase your support for Central Asia Institute, log in to your User Profile and click Manage Donation.

Thankfully, THERE’S NO HURRY. We record member distributions on the last day of the quarter (June 30). So feel free to watch the issue unfold before making your final decision. We’ll continue to inform you of any major developments in the story.

View the CAI segment on 60 Minutes

CAI Board responds

Greg Mortenson responds

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