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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

‘Three Cups Of Tea’ Charity Vows To Forge Ahead

Greg Mortenson, his son Khyber, and daughter, Amira Mortenson, with students at Gultori War refugee school, Bromolo Colony, Karakoram mountains in 2008. (PRNewsFoto/Central Asia Institute, Deirdre Eitel)

The head of the American Institute of Philanthropy Daniel Borochoff tells the Great Falls Tribune that problems like those seen at the Central Asia Institute, author Greg Mortensons’s Bozeman, Montana-based charity, are more prevalent in the charity world than most people think.

“It’s a wild west atmosphere and it’s not just Montana. Donors beware,” Borochoff says.

Mortenson Ordered To Pay Back $1 Million

Last week the Montana Attorney General ordered Greg Mortenson off CAI’s board and to pay back $1 million the AG says were misspent.

Separately, Mortenson is accused in civil lawsuits of fabricating parts of “Three Cups of Tea” and there will be a hearing on those lawsuits next week.

Worth Saving Central Asia Institute?

But the Montana AG did report that despite severe problems, the Central Asia Institute is “worth saving” because of its mission: building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Anne Beyersdorfer, acting director of the Central Asia Institute, told Here & Now‘s Robin Young why she feels the organization should continue.

“We were a wonderful organization growing very quickly and [Mortenson] was working towards the mission at all times,” she said.

Beyersdorfer says that CAI supporters will “see beyond… the immediate rush to judgment that came with the media accusations in the spring, and they see the longterm benefits of educating girls, especially in the areas we serve.”

She says CAI “respectfully disagrees” with the Montana Attorney General’s report.


  • Anne Beyersdorfer, acting director of the Central Asia Institute

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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