Ms. Beyersdorfer included a statement that is part of the institute’s standard response to inquiries about how it handled donations: “The CAI board of directors and senior management team have determined that a very thorough, transparent, and objective assessment of CAI’s programs and operations is needed, and we are taking steps to define that process and begin.”
Montana’s attorney general, Steve Bullock, has launched an inquiry into the operations of the Central Asia Institute. “While looking into this issue, my office will not jump to any conclusions—but we have a responsibility to make sure charitable assets are used for their intended purposes,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Mortenson didn’t grant interviews to “60 Minutes” or to Mr. Krakauer, but he said in a Q&A published April 18 by Outside magazine that inaccuracies in his books are a result partly of the condensing of the time when some events took place.
‘Hold On to the Money’
The Washington-based National Education Association Foundation is among groups that have promoted Pennies for Peace. Along with the Pearson Foundation, the NEA Foundation supported the creation of a curriculum and “toolkit” that teachers have used to accompany students’ reading of books by Mr. Mortenson and fundraising for Pennies for Peace. Harriet Sanford, the president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said the philanthropy gave Pennies for Peace a $10,000 planning grant in 2007 to make the toolkit but hasn’t given any money to the program since then.