Reflecting on Transparency

Posted on: April 21, 2011 Posted by: Kaia Smith Comments: 0

Reflecting on Transparency

Recflection on Transparency

Photo credit: kenteegardin

This month the world received a big shock about international aid worker Greg Mortenson when it was reported that the organization he founded, The Central Asia Institute (CAI), lacks honesty and transparency in their records and bookkeeping. A 60 Minute report as well as accounts from the CAI board and articles by ex-supporters like author Jon Krakauer indicate that, although Greg’s actions weren’t strictly illegal, his financial and editorial decisions might not have been as responsible as one would expect from a revered role-model in the NGO sector.

We have taken this opportunity to reflect upon the Greg Mortenson controversy, and one of our many conclusions is that YOU are capable of extreme good. (Did we really make that jump? Yes! Read on to follow the train of thought on the Lessons I Learned blog.)

In the wake of this scandal, in a time when the integrity of the NGO world seems to be in doubt, we ask that you continue to hold us to the high standards you think we should be performing to. We want to let you know that this month we are undergoing our third year in a row of voluntary external financial audits (past financials are downloadable here). We have hired an independent auditing team to ensure that our financials are in check, because it is important to us that we are using the funds you have entrusted to us in an efficient and transparent way.

The recent news about CAI and the subsequent media frenzy is sure to have ripple effects throughout the philanthropy sector. The benefit of this newfound scrutiny is that it helps us reaffirm one of our core beliefs: that transparency is key when it comes to evaluating the efficacy and integrity of organizations that engage in development work.

We produce a monthly newsletter because we want to keep you and all of our supporters up-to-date on our progress. It’s important to us to give you the chance to engage us in conversation, ask questions, and connect with our programs.

Thank you for continuing to encourage us to set the bar higher for the work that we do.