The Back Story

In 2006, Greg Mortenson, co-founder of Central Asia Institute, co-authored and published Three Cups of Tea, a book about his experiences in Pakistan. Four years later Mortenson wrote Stones into Schools (published 2010) in which he describes his efforts to bring CAI’s educational mission into the remote Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan. Both books were widely read. Mortenson traveled extensively in the United States and abroad to raise public awareness of the transformative power of education, especially for girls and women. He spoke passionately about the ability of education to promote peace and prosperity in regions ravaged by generations of poverty and conflict.

In 2011, Mortenson’s work and Central Asia Institute came under public scrutiny. Concerns were raised that the organization, having received substantial and generous support for its work overseas, had not effectively handled public funds. The concerns led to an investigation by the Montana Attorney General whose office oversees nonprofit organizations operating within the state. The investigation found that while there had been neither fraud nor intentional misconduct, the organization’s then-leadership had failed to fulfill some of its important responsibilities in governing the nonprofit charity.

CAI undergoes massive overhaul

Despite these shortcomings, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock concluded that CAI’s noble mission was worth saving. A settlement was reached wherein CAI committed to meaningful changes to reestablish the charity going forward and regain public trust. Internal measures were put in place to strengthen management and oversight and to more closely monitor CAI’s programs overseas. The staff and board of directors were revamped. Procedures and personnel policies were tightened. In addition, Mortenson stepped down as Executive Director and forfeited all control over the organization’s finances and operational decisions.

CAI committed to full transparency

Today, CAI meets the high standards for transparency and operations set by CharityWatch, Guidestar, and Charity Navigator. Our financials are audited by an independent auditing firm every year without fail.

We welcome your questions and would be happy to provide additional information about our programs, staff, board of directors, and fundraising. Call (877) 585-7841 or send an email to We appreciate your interest in the health and vitality of our organization and remain committed to full transparency now and in the years ahead.



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