Instituto Lab



Phoenix, AZ

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $926,506
Expenses: $455,132
Assets: $665,604


Left-of-center Activist Group



Founder and Chair:

Luis Avila

Executive Director:

Shelley Jackson

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $1,243,885
Expenses: $1,309,432
Net Assets: $572,835 1


  1. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Instituto Lab. 2022.

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Instituto Lab is a left-of-center political activism and advocacy organization based in Arizona that advocates for a left-of-center policies and incubates left-of-center campaigns, programs, and organizations. The group is also known as Instituto and consists of two organizations: Instituto Lab, the charitable/educational arm that operates most of the organization’s programs, and Instituto Power, the lobbying and political action arm of the group. The group’s activities include promoting voting and building left-of-center political influence within local communities and schools in concert with dozens of other left-of-center activist groups within the state. The group was founded by Luis Avila, a community organizer and political operative who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and is managed by Shelley Jackson, a school board member and Democratic political activist. 1 2 3 4

Listed partners of Instituto include the Arizona Democratic Party, the Arizona AFL-CIO, and the Arizona Education Association. 5


Instituto was founded in 2019 by Luis Avila, a Democratic political operative and liberal organizer who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in Nevada as well as other political consulting firms and campaigns. Instituto was founded to promote left-of-center policies and political organizing in minority communities in Arizona. The group states that its activity is to prepare for Arizona becoming a majority-minority state demographically by 2027. Its vision is to “set our communities [of color] on a path where their material conditions begin to change due to increased political power.” 6

Instituto consists of two organizations: Instituto Lab and Instituto Power. Instituto Lab is the 501(c)(3) educational arm of the organization and is the primary source of the organization’s revenue, expenses, and programs. Instituto lab was granted tax exempt status in 2019 and is listed as an LLC with Luis Avila as the sole member. Avila was also the sole board member with Shelley Jackson listed as executive director as of 2022. 7 8


Instituto Lab’s activities include incubating other organizations. Instituto claims credit for incubating AZ Ready, a left-of-center advocacy group centered around the 2020 election, and the Arizona Donor Alliance (AZDA), a funding collective that directs funds from left-of-center groups to fund the work of local liberal organizations. 9

The group also promotes a variety of left-of-center and far-left “land acknowledgment” language on its website that references native American lands in Arizona. Instituto connects its land acknowledgements to  the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating, “In Palestine, the forceful taking of the land is happening, the genocide of the indigenous people of that land.” 11


  1. “Shelley Jackson.” Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, Inc. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  2. “Luis Avila.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  3. “Home.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  4. “About Us.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  5. “Partners.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  6. “About Us.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  7. “Instituto Lab.” Nonprofit Explorer. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  8. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Instituto Lab. 2022.
  9. “Incubator.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.
  10. “About Us.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.[/note

    Affiliated Organizations

    Listed partners of Instituto include All in Education, Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, the Arizona Democracy Resource Center, the Arizona Democratic Party, Arizona Education Association, the Arizona AFL-CIO, Arizona Wins, Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, CAIR Arizona, Planned Parenthood Arizona, Unite Here, and UFCW 99. 10 “Partners.” Instituto. Accessed March 29, 2024.

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2019

  • 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
    2021 Dec Form 990 $926,506 $455,132 $665,604 $27,222 N $926,506 $0 $0 $20,000
    2020 Dec Form 990 $771,423 $659,885 $186,925 $2,855 N $771,423 $0 $0 $24,000

    Instituto Lab

    Phoenix, AZ