Central Asia Institute

"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank . . . but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child." - Forest Witcraft


Asalaam Aleikum (Peace be with you). With this spring edition of Alima, we are happy and relieved to announce that the Montana Attorney General's Office (OAG) has completed its investigations of Central Asia Institute and our cofounder Greg Mortenson. Most important, our mission continues unabated.


In conjunction with the OAG's announcement of its findings, we created a page on our website designed to help supporters easily find the original documents and relevant information. In this edition of Alima, you will also find a personal message from Executive Director Anne Beyersdorfer about the AG investigations and resulting agreement.


For legal reasons, Greg is still not talking publicly about the OAG's conclusions. However, along those lines, we learned this week that a hearing on defendants' (CAI, Greg, et al) motions to dismiss the class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Montana is scheduled for April 18, 2012, in Helena, Mont. As we have said all along, CAI believes that the claims made against all defendants involved are warrantless and meritless and hope the case will be dismissed with prejudice.


In other good news, CAI is also delighted to announce that it has been added to the list of nonprofit organizations eligible to receive federal employees' donations via the Combined Federal Campaign. More on that below, too.


Message from Anne Beyersdorfer, CAI executive director | 4/5/2012

           We are pleased that the Montana Attorney General's Office (OAG), Central Asia Institute (CAI), and Greg Mortenson have signed an agreement resolving the OAG's inquiries. While we respectfully disagree with some of the analysis and conclusions in the OAG's report, we look forward to moving ahead as an even stronger organization, focusing on CAI's vital mission. Most importantly, we are pleased the OAG's report reinforced that CAI's mission is noble and valuable and its achievements are important.           

            CAI has always been a small group of dynamic, mission-centric individuals doing extraordinary work. Mistakes were made during a rapid period of growth, and we have corrected or are in the process of correcting them. CAI continues to strengthen its governance, management, and accounting, including enforcing our policies and acting on any findings of the annual audits of our financial records.

             During the OAG's 11-month inquiry, we continued our overseas work and educational outreach, including our Pennies For Peace (P4P) program, designed to empower children to create global awareness about peace through education, www.penniesforpeace.org. Highlights of all our programs are published on our website, www.ikat.org, the CAI Communiqué blog,  www.ikat.org/cai-communique, and in our e-newsletter, Alima, www.ikat.org/alima.

            Specifically, in 2011 we worked with villages in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan to initiate 57 new school and community projects while providing ongoing support to our existing projects in the remote, mountainous, and often war-wracked areas we serve. All of our projects are listed on our project master list, which is frequently updated: www.ikat.org/projects/project-list/ 

            We are extremely grateful to our loyal supporters who provide the support to fulfill our mission, and to the communities, which typically match CAI funds with free land or subsidized or volunteer manual labor. Many of these schools are the first or only schools in their communities. Instruction of the children is based on Pakistan and Afghanistan's standard education requirements and subject to their peer review and certification.

           In recent weeks some CAI overseas personnel have also been working hard to deliver winter disaster aid to isolated villages in Badakhshan Province in NE Afghanistan. Please see detailed reports at www.ikat.org/cai-communique/. In addition, CAI cofounder Greg Mortenson and Communications Director Karin Ronnow and I recently returned from Pakistan, where we spent several weeks working with program managers to confirm plans for schools and community projects in the upcoming year. As always, we have dedicated, resourceful men and women working in the field to make this happen.

           CAI has worked with communities in remote regions for more than 15 years to build, supply, staff, and maintain over 180 schools and 30 vocational centers, and support an additional 56 schools, 20 literacy centers, eight scholarship programs, and 22 public health (potable water, midwifery, and disaster-relief) projects. 

           No other NGO does what we do in these locales with such a small team of dedicated individuals. 

           News fatigue about Pakistan and Afghanistan is evident everywhere we look these days. But the children and their parents, village elders, and teachers with whom we work cannot look away; this is about their futures. Greg and our overseas managers have dedicated their lives to helping fulfill countless dreams and aspirations and we are honored to continue our life-changing work together.

           CAI is an educational organization; we learn and grow stronger from any adversity we face. This past year brought unprecedented challenges for all of us at CAI, our extended families and communities. Yet challenges yield opportunities, and we are extremely grateful for the ongoing opportunities provided by our steadfast supporters, as well as their constant compassion and care.

            As Greg often says, "Onward"!
            Shukria, Tashakur, Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Anne Beyersdorfer
Executive Director




MASTER LIST: Verification of overseas projects (www.ikat.org/projects/) by way of survey teams composed of US-based and overseas staff. Based on those assessments and evaluations, we prepare and post our Master Project List on our website, www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/masterprojectlist.pdf. The list is a "living document," in that it is constantly amended with the most current information available about each CAI project. We are currently developing an accompanying interactive mapping feature that will be an educational resource about our projects. www.ikat.org/projects/project-list/


BLOG: The CAI Communiqué includes stories about projects, communities and our overseas project managers, as well as news from the areas we serve. www.ikat.org/cai-communique/


FYE 2009 & 2010 AUDITS & ANNUAL REPORT: We take very seriously our obligation to ensure that donor funds are spent wisely. Tracking the money is part of our job. Last year for the first time, in conjunction with our FYE 2009 & FYE 2010 independent audit, CAI issued an annual report, focused primarily on financial information (stories about the projects have been published in the "Journey of Hope" each fall since 2007; and current news is now posted on our blog as it happens).



FYE 2011 AUDIT: CAI is undergoing an audit of fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 31, 2011. Once the audit is complete, a new annual report will be posted at www.ikat.org. 


ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION: CAI's annual IRS 990s since inception are available on the financial page of our website, www.ikat.org/about-cai/financials/, and are available upon request at info@ikat.org. 


EXPANDED BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Extraordinarily qualified and interested people are ready to serve CAI's mission, and the process of expanding CAI's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors is underway. The names of CAI's board members are posted at: www.ikat.org/about-cai/board-of-directors/.


GREG MORTENSON'S ROLE: As announced in December 2011, Greg remains on staff as co-founder. His role will be focused on delivering educational opportunities, especially for girls, in the communities we serve, and continuing to educate the public about peace through education. 



PENNIES FOR PEACE: Students, schools and community groups are active, and every penny collected has gone, and will continue to go, to schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. For more information visit www.penniesforpeace.org.  
CAI'S ORGANIZATIONAL EVOLUTION: Additional details about CAI's history are available online at www.ikat.org.  
JOURNEY OF HOPE: Every year CAI publishes a detailed publication that summarizes our work, the challenges and problems we face, and the results of what we do as reflected by the people we serve. Electronic copies are available on our website, www.ikat.org/media-and-press/cai-publications/ and hard copies are available upon request at info@ikat.org.
CAI added to Combined Federal Campaign's list of eligible charities 

Central Asia Institute has been added to the list of charities eligible for donations through the U.S. government's Combined Federal Campaign.


Students in CAI's Wark High School, Badakhshan Province,

The Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, is the largest annual workplace charity campaign in the world, according to the campaign website, www.opm.gov/cfc/. It allows federal employees - civilian, postal and military workers - to pledge support for eligible nonprofit organizations through a payroll deduction. On average, 57 percent of the federal workforce donates to the campaign.


"This is something that many of our military supporters have requested for a long time, so this is very positive news," said CAI's US Operations Director Jennifer Sipes.


One of those people is a U.S. Air Force captain, who wrote to CAI urging our participation in the campaign.


"I read 'Three Cups of Tea' several months ago and have long supported education initiatives. I believe, dollar for dollar, education solves more problems than other humanitarian efforts," he wrote. "I have many peers within the Air Force who have read 'Three Cups of Tea,' have spent significant time in Afghanistan and support your efforts. I'm certain the Central Asia Institute would receive significant donations from federal employees if you register with the CFC."


The CFC was set up by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 "to promote and support philanthropy" by "providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all," according to the website. Its 200-plus campaigns helped raise more than $280 million dollars in each of the past two years.


"The civilian workforce in my hometown of Seattle (King County) alone contributed over 3 million dollars toward charities in 2009 and I've been part of military installations that have contributed over $10 million each year," wrote another supporter, a retired U.S. Navy sailor who now works for the U.S. Labor Department in western Washington. "It's one large way that we public servants give to charity and definitely the armed forces' favorite way to contribute."


Like the Air Force captain, the Washington supporter said he was "turned on" to CAI after reading "Three Cups of Tea," one of two books written by CAI cofounder Greg Mortenson.


"I have been amazed with [Mortenson's] work and simplicity of focusing efforts in the right places for long-term benefits. Your organization is so right on the money," he wrote. "My friends and family would like to help and contribute."


Yet another CAI supporter in Southern California was also inspired by Mortenson's book.


"I just got done reading 'Three Cups of Tea,' and went to check the Combined Federal Campaign to see if CAI was listed as a charity," he wrote. "I did not see CAI listed. I assume CAI knows about this area of donation opportunity."


He, too, urged CAI to look into CFC eligibility, as it would give us access to a potential donation pool of "millions of federal, postal and military employees" who "donate to charities right from their paychecks," he said. "I am a federal employee (who) participates in the CFC each year. ... In the Greater Los Angeles Area, it collected over $3 million this last campaign."


Federal employees can, in most cases, donate online and choose which eligible organization receives that donation. Payroll deductions let workers spread contributions over an entire year. The automated system keeps overhead low, meaning more money goes to the nonprofit organizations. Federal employees can find the campaign nearest them at www.opm.gov/cfc/search/locator.asp.


QUOTE: "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." - John F. Kennedy.


- Karin Ronnow


Visit our blog 
Bhamber Girl's Middle School students welcome guests to their new school in January 2012. 

The latest news from CAI is always available on our blog, www.ikat.org/cai-communique. Topics covered so far this year include: CAI helps hundreds of families stranded by winter storms in NE Afghanistan; Avalanche kills extended family; reprint of a column about Greg and CAI published in a Pakistani newspaper; profile of a new CAI girls' school; and the benefits of CAI's expanding work in Pakistan's troubled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.


Also, you can sign up to receive an e-mail notice whenever the blog is updated at www.ikat.org/cai-communique.


Please feel free to forward this electronic newsletter to any and all people you think might be interested. Thanks for helping us spread the word.


As we head into the spring building season of 2012, we at CAI - inspired by the communities we serve and our supporters' commitment to peace through education -remain focused on helping children in the last best places achieve their dreams of a bright future.



Central Asia Institute staff

It's easy to share...
A Mir Afghan student reads her lesson aloud. The students attend classes in a rented house until CAI completes construction of their new high school.

Help us promote girls' education, literacy and peace: one penny, one pencil, one child, one book, and three cups of tea at a time! Make a tax deductible donation to Central Asia Institute to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.




CAI is U.S. registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, IRS EIN #51-0376237. Contributions are tax-deductible in the U.S.  

 For the latest news, check out our blog, CAI Communiqué, at www.ikat.org

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