Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Global Connections

Local donations set record, help build schools for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan

February 12, 2010
By Tony Phifer & Maggie Walsh

When Greg Mortenson spoke to a sold-out crowd at Colorado State University's Moby Arena in August, residents of Northern Colorado listened . . . and set a Central Asia Institute fundraising record.

Greg Mortenson (left) is an author, humanitarian, international peacemaker, co-founder of the non-profit Central Asia Institute, and founder of the Pennies for Peace program.

Largest check ever received

Thanks to a matching pledge from the Bohemian Foundation, $336,000 was raised to support Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute. The money will be used to help build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“In 17 years of working to build schools, this is the largest check we’ve ever received,” Mortenson said during a telephone interview on Wednesday. “I’ve been blown away by what I’ve seen in Northern Colorado. There is definitely something very good going on here.”

8,500 attended speech at Moby

Mortenson, the author of “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time,” and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, mesmerized a crowd of 8,500 during his moving speech – the Monfort Lecture at Colorado State. The Bohemian Foundation was the main sponsor of the lecture.

Mortenson talked about his experiences in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and his quest to raise money to build schools so that children – especially girls - have access to education. So far, enough money has been raised to build more than 90 schools, which serve nearly 38,000 students.

Matching donation from Bohemian Foundation

The Bohemian Foundation, founded by Fort Collins philanthropist Pat Stryker, announced following the lecture that it would match donations from Northern Colorado to the Central Asia Institute through Dec. 31, 2009. Money was raised by local school children through the Pennies for Peace program, service groups, churches, individuals, and other community organizations, with the Bohemian Foundation matching each donation.

'Without education, nothing will ever change'

“This is a testament to the power of collective giving and passion,” Mortenson said. “Every little gift makes a big difference…and this gift honors what the people of rural Afghanistan want for their future. Without education, nothing will ever change.”