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International : Development and Relief Services (Grantmaking/Grants Payable)

Central Asia Institute

Educate a Girl. Change the World.

three stars


2409 West Main Street Suite 1
Bozeman, MT 59718
tel: (877) 585-7841   Web Site
EIN: 51-0376237

Board Leadership
Asif Chaudhry
Board Chair

Alice Thomas
Executive Director

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2019-09 05/01/2021 82.65 three stars
2018-09 03/01/2020 81.32 three stars
2017-09 04/01/2019 84.66 three stars
2016-09 12/01/2018 87.06 three stars
2015-09 02/01/2017 84.82 three stars
2014-09 06/01/2016 86.16 three stars
CN 2.0
2014-09 12/01/2015 83.01 three stars
2013-09 07/01/2015 80.32 three stars
2013-09 06/01/2015 80.12 three stars
CN 1.0
2009-09 04/18/2011 --Donor Advisory

Prior to 9/1/2016, Charity Navigator issued Advisories under the name CN Watchlist and Donor Advisory. For more information on the CN Advisory system click here. This charity was issued a DA.

This donor advisory was published on Monday, April 18, 2011

In accordance with our policy for removing Donor Advisories, Charity Navigator removed the Donor Advisory on Central Asia Institute on June 1, 2015 because the Advisory had been in place for a period of twelve or more months, and the issues that led to the Donor Advisory have been resolved. Specifically, the Agreement and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance entered into by CAI and the Office of the Montana Attorney General was satisfactorily completed and the official monitoring process has ended. 

Charity Navigator had published a Donor Advisory on Central Asia Institute because we became aware of the following information in connection with this charity:

  • It has been alleged that the Central Asia Institute has exaggerated its programmatic accomplishments and that its Executive Director has received “excess benefits” from his relationship with the charity. For more information, please see the CBS News story.
  • The Executive Director and Board have responded to these accusations here, here, here and here.
  • The Executive Director also gave an in-depth interview to Outside which was summarized in The New York Times.
  • Two people are suing the Central Asia Institute and its Executive Director, Greg Mortenson, alleging fraud, deceit and racketeering. For more information, please see the news coverage by USA Today.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that one of the original defendants dropped out of the case and the lawsuit was modified. In September of 2011, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported that the Central Asian Institute was dropped from the lawsuit although its founder, Greg Mortenson, was not.
  • On April 30, 2012 the Associated Press reported that a federal judge in Montana threw out a civil suit alleging Greg Mortenson fabricated elements of his best-selling memoirs Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools in order to raise money for his charity. 
  • In response to the criticism about the charity's programmatic accomplishments, it has published a Master Project List. and created a blog.
  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, will no longer manage daily operations at the Central Asian Institute (which he co-founded) following earlier claims that he invented portions of the best-selling memoir and used funds from the Central Asia Institute to promote his books.
  • On April 5, 2012, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported that Montana Attorney General's office found that Greg Mortenson mismanaged the Central Asian Institute and spent charity money on personal items, family vacations and millions on charter flights. In settlement reached with the Montana Attorney General, Greg Mortenson must pay more than $1 million in restitution and cannot hold any position of financial oversight at the Central Asia Institute. 
  • On April 5, 2012, the Central Asia Institute published a copy of the April 5, 2012 Agreement and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance between the AG and CAI which requires additional oversight of the charity and reporting by the charity to the AG through 2013.  
  • On July 19, 2012, the Associated Press reported that the Central Asia Institute "has named seven new board members as part of a settlement over accusations" that Mortenson "mismanaged the organization." For more information, please see the Associated Press article.
  • On February 6, 2013, the Central Asian Institute announced that it hired a new Executive Director. Please visit the charity’s website to read the corresponding press release.  
  • On April 8, 2013, The Daily Beast published an article about the Central Asia Institute by Jon Krakauer, who has been a critic of Mortensen. The article notes that an “overseas audit was conducted by a respected Pakistani accounting firm, HLB Ijaz Tabussum & Co., in the spring and summer of 2012” and it includes “a partial list of the irregularities reported by HLB Ijaz auditors.” The article also says the “CAI board has been overhauled, and a new executive director with seemingly solid credentials took over from Beyersdorfer in March 2013. But Mortenson remains on the CAI payroll (his annual compensation is $182,220, according to the most recent financial information released by the charity), and he continues to exert considerable influence over its operations. He is still very much the public face of CAI, which doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the charity or the people it serves in Pakistan and Afghanistan, given the many poor decisions Mortenson made and the disgrace he’s brought to the organization.” See the full article for more details.
  • On January 21, 2014, the Today show interviewed Greg Mortenson. In the interview, Mortenson "admits he failed to heed warning signs that led to his downfall" and that "he’s spent a lot of time owning up to his mistakes." For more information, please see the Today show interview.
  • On September 19, 2014, it was reported that Mortenson will "reluctantly resume activity with the Central Asia Institute nearly three years after he gave up management [...] amid charges that he fabricated portions of his best-selling memoir and mismanaged the charity's money." For more information, please see the Chronicle of Philanthropy article
  • On October 22, 2014, the Central Asia Institute provided the following information to Charity Navigator:
    • Central Asia Institute published its September 30, 2013 financial information on their website. It is accessible here.  
    • In October 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed the purported class-action lawsuit against CAI, coauthors Greg Mortenson and the late David Oliver Relin, and Penguin Group publishing. The federal appeals court ruling upheld U.S. District Court Judge Sam E. Haddon's dismissal of the case with prejudice in Great Falls, Montana in May 2012. A copy of the ruling on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals can be found here
    • In July 2012, CAI and the Office of the Montana Attorney General entered into an Agreement and Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC). As of August 2013, CAI has satisfactorily completed all specific actions outlined in the AVC and the Attorney General's office. CAI will continue to be under their observation until April 2015 and a representative of the Office of the Montana Attorney General is present at all Board meetings. 
    • ABC Fox News exclusive: Chairman Steve Barrett in an interview with ABC FOX-Affiliated news outlet.
    • Washington Post article: Executive Director Jim Thaden writes a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. 
2009-09 02/01/2011 98.80 four stars
2008-09 09/01/2009 95.37 four stars
2007-09 09/01/2008 77.72 two stars
2006-09 02/01/2008 95.43 four stars
2005-09 05/01/2007 89.39 three stars

Charity Contact Info

Central Asia Institute
2409 West Main Street
Suite 1
Bozeman, MT 59718
tel: (877) 585-7841
fax: (406) 585-5302
EIN: 51-0376237

Mail donations to:
P.O. Box 7209
Bozeman, MT 59771

Visit Web Site

Board Leadership

Asif Chaudhry
Board Chair


Alice Thomas
Executive Director

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