Non-profit

Arab American Institute (AAI)

Website:

www.aaiusa.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-1959306

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $551,454
Expenses: $1,286,499
Assets: $317,288

Formation:

1986

Type:

Arab Identity Group

The Arab American Institute (AAI) is a left-of-center organization which mobilizes Arab-American voters and promotes left-of-center foreign and domestic policies. AAI purports to represent the interests of people of Middle Eastern and North African descent in the United States. AAI was founded in 1985 and is based in Washington, D.C. [1]

AAI’s #YallaVote (Let’s Go Vote) campaign, which promotes voter registration and participation within the Arab-American community, mobilized voters largely in favor of Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden during the 2020 election. [2]

Initiatives

Arab American Institute encourages members of the Arab-American community to vote on social media with the #YallaVote hashtag. The Institute also operates a hotline for questions about the voting process, including an Arabic language option for non-English speakers. [3]

AAI also conducts polls and research on the Arab-American community’s attitudes towards various domestic and foreign policy issues. A 2020 AAI poll found that 46% of Arabs in America primarily identify as Arab-American, while 42% primarily identify with either their religion or their country of origin. The poll found that Arab-Americans supported former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election and viewed race relations as their most important issue. [4]

Leadership

James Zogby is the founder of AAI. He is the managing director of Zogby Research Services, a firm which provides research services for the Democratic Party. Zogby was also a fellow at the Sanders Institute, a left-wing think tank founded by Jane Sanders, the wife of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D—VT). [5]

Maya Berry is the executive director of AAI. [6] Berry has pushed for the Census Bureau to create a new “Middle Eastern or North African” category for Arab Americans, who are currently classified as white. [7]

Controversies

In October of 2001, the Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites (CAAM) issued a press release condemning Arab American Institute for labeling Assyrians and Maronites as Arabs. The press release emphasized that the two groups are Christian, ethnically distinct from Arabs, and indigenous to the Middle East, with a civilization predating the Arab conquest of the region. CAAM informed AAI that it is not authorized to speak on behalf of Assyrians and Maronites except to affirm their distinct identity. [8]

In October of 2020, AAI executive director Maya Berry endorsed the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for combating cross-border crime and illegal border crossings. [9]

AAI founder James Zogby has collaborated with long-time left-wing activist Jesse Jackson, the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, to promote voter turnout in Arab communities. [10]

In November of 2020, Zogby attacked U.S. Representative-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (D—GA) for opposing COVID-19 lockdowns in Washington, D.C., accusing her of having a “narcissistic death-wish super-spreader mentality.” Zogby told Greene to “go back to where you come from.” [11]

Finances

AAI receives its funding from its partner organization, the Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF). Between 2010 and 2014, AAIF received between $430,000 and $740,000 per year in contributions. Donations to the Institute spiked in 2015 to $1.38 million and again in 2018 to $1.03 million. [12]

AAI has received grants from the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a pro-Palestinian advocacy group. [13]

References

  1.             Arab American Institute, About, Facebook. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/pg/ArabAmericanInstitute/about/ ^
  2.           Arielle Mitropoulos and Zohreen Shah, “Arab American voters could play important role in key swing states,” ABC News, October 16, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/arab-american-voters-play-important-role-key-swing/story?id=73588362 ^
  3.           Arab American Institute, Twitter. November 3, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/AAIUSA/status/1323585859594178560 ^
  4.             James J. Zogby, “Arab American attitudes towards their heritage and the Middle East,” The Jordan Times, November 16, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. http://jordantimes.com/opinion/james-j-zogby/arab-american-attitudes-towards-their-heritage-and-middle-east ^
  5.          James J. Zogby, Twitter. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/jjz1600 ^
  6.        mayaberry, Twitter. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/iMayaBerry ^
  7.             Maya Berry, “A new MENA category: The reality and the headlines,” The Hill, October 13, 2016. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/the-administration/300737-a-new-mena-category-the-reality-and-the-headlines ^
  8.      “Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites Rebukes Arab American Institute,” Assyrian International News Agency, October 27, 2001. Accessed November 19, 2020. http://www.aina.org/releases/caamletter.htm ^
  9.          Maya Berry, Twitter, October 20, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/iMayaBerry/status/1318636361587527682 ^
  10.          Arab American Institute, Twitter, October 30, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/AAIUSA/status/1322159819697115137 ^
  11.      James J. Zogby, Twitter, November 14, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://twitter.com/jjz1600/status/1327779928109101059 ^
  12.     The Arab American Institute Foundation, ProPublica. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521959306 ^
  13.        Arab American Institute, Foundation for Middle East Peace. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://fmep.org/grants/arab-american-institute/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. James Zogby
    Co-Founder and President
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1996

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $551,454 $1,286,499 $317,288 $206,212 N $610,472 $0 $575 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,404,817 $664,579 $1,030,195 $184,074 N $1,389,579 $0 $722 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $708,378 $640,044 $121,969 $16,086 N $732,571 $7,780 $146 $0
    2013 Dec Form 990 $665,896 $854,643 $87,985 $50,422 N $438,986 $257,486 $242 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $457,884 $648,870 $270,338 $43,997 N $531,918 $1,690 $395 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $704,374 $592,931 $456,538 $39,164 N $753,565 $7,155 $477 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Arab American Institute (AAI)

    1600 K ST NW STE 601
    WASHINGTON, DC 20006-2834