Arab American Institute Foundation



Washington, DC

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $2,301,910
Expenses: $2,349,509
Assets: $369,464


Social Advocacy




James Zogby

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The Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF) is an advocacy organization that claims to represent and promote the interests of Americans of Arab ancestry. The foundation is associated with the Arab American Institute (AAI) which established it as its civic engagement arm in 1995. In practice, the AAIF promotes a left-of-center political, economic, and social agenda, and portrays the Arab population in America as liberal on issues of religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. 1

Policy Advocacy

The Arab American Institute Foundation supports removing restrictions on legal immigration, opening the border to undocumented migrants, providing legal status and even citizenship to illegal immigrants already in the United States, and expanding government assistance programs for refugees. The foundation explicitly connects immigration to political power of minority populations, arguing that restriction on new arrivals from the Middle East reduces the influence of the Arab population in America. The AAIF also claims that immigration restrictions make the “American dream” impossible. 2

While both the AAIF and the Arab American Institute identifies itself with Arabs in America, it also advocates for the interests of Arabs around the world, especially those in the disputed Palestinian territories. The organizations’ leadership has claimed that Western countries have demonstrated “double standards” by allegedly being more willing to receive refugees from the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict than migrants arriving in Europe in the aftermath of the Libyan and Syrian civil wars. 3

The foundation’s advocacy for freedom of expression prioritizes the interests of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activist causes which are often united under the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. The AAIF ties the pressure campaign against Israel to the boycotts of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the protests against Apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s and claims that pro-Palestine activists face obstacles to expressing their agenda. 4

The AAIF opposes government surveillance and perceived violations of the Fourth Amendment to the extent that they appear to disproportionately affect Arabs and other minority groups, dismissing national security concerns as justifications for increasing government power. 5

Parent Organization

The Arab American Institute mobilizes Arab voters to support left-of-center policies, both through direct outreach and by providing election-related information. 6 In addition, the institute conducts polls and research on the Arab population’s attitudes towards various domestic and foreign policy issues. A 2020 AAI poll found that 46 percent of Arabs in America primarily identify as Arab American, while 42 percent identify primarily with either their religion or their home country. The poll also 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. 7

The AAI has generated controversy by its broad claims of representing Middle Eastern groups in America. In October 2001, the Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites (CAAM) issued a press release condemning the institute for classifying 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. The CAAM informed the AAI that it should not speak for its member groups except to affirm their distinct identity. 8


James Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute Foundation and Arab American Institute. He is the managing director of Zogby Research Services, a firm which has provided 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 left-wing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 9

Maya Berry is the executive director of the AAIF and AAI. 10 Berry has pushed for the Census Bureau to create a new “Middle Eastern or North African” category for Arabs in America, who are currently classified as white. 11 She has also endorsed the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for combating cross-border crime and illegal border crossings. 12


In 2020, the AAIF received just over $2.3 million in total revenue and spent just under $2.35 million. The foundation’s net assets totaled just over $142,000. 13


  1. “About Us.” Arab American Institute. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  2. “Fair Immigration.” Arab American Institute. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  3. “Arab World.” Arab American Institute. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  4. “First Amendment.” Arab American Institute. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  5. “Surveillance and Privacy.” Arab American Institute. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  6. Arab American Institute. Twitter. November 3, 2020. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  7. James J. Zogby. “Arab American attitudes towards their heritage and the Middle East.” The Jordan Times. November 16, 2020. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  8. “Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites Rebukes Arab American Institute.” Assyrian International News Agency. October 27, 2001. Accessed November 19, 2020.
  9. James J. Zogby. Twitter. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  10. mayaberry. Twitter. Accessed November 19, 2020.
  11. Maya Berry. “A new MENA category: The reality and the headlines.” The Hill. October 13, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  12. mayaberry. Twitter. October 20, 2020. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  13. “The Arab American Institute Foundation.” ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer. Accessed February 6, 2023.
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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
    2020 Dec Form 990 $2,301,910 $2,349,509 $369,464 $227,190 N $2,296,948 $0 $406 $132,031
    2019 Dec Form 990 $2,249,720 $1,904,794 $457,301 $257,331 N $1,301,721 $0 $503 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,369,216 $1,567,808 $74,261 $217,626 N $1,039,525 $0 $84 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $756,508 $812,357 $190,045 $134,818 N $341,595 $0 $327 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $551,454 $1,286,499 $317,288 $206,212 N $610,472 $0 $575 $0 PDF
    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 PDF
    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 Foundation

    1600 K Street NW, Suite 601
    Washington, DC 20006-2834