Wall Street Journal: Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, May 4, 2011: Aid for Africa Executive Director Writes a Letter to the WSJ about the Important Differences in Financial Accountability between Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute and Rye Barcott’s Carolina for Kibera

To the editor:

As a nonprofit executive who leads a consortium of US-based international charities, I read with interest Cameron McWhirter’s “The Big Spill Over: ‘Three Cups of Tea,’” which compares Rye Barcott and Greg Mortenson (April 30-May 1, C3).  Mr. McWhirter makes many good points, but I was disappointed that he missed the crucial difference between the two men’s efforts to promote their books and the work of their nonprofits. Mr. Barcott’s group–Carolina for Kibera–is not associated with any for-profit enterprise. Mr. Mortenson is intimately involved in both a for-profit and a nonprofit with interlocking missions.  The conflict of interests arising from this structure must be addressed with governance and financial controls that provide a clear road map for both potential donors and the staffs of both organizations on how funds are to be administered. Donors should know that Carolina for Kibera is an entirely nonprofit effort, commissions annual audits in both Kenya and the US, and makes its US audit available to the public on www.aidforafrica.org.

Barbara Alison Rose                                                                                                                                          Chevy Chase, MD 20815                                                                                                                                  May 5, 2011

Executive Director, Aid for Africa