Presente ACTION is the organizing body of Presente.org, a national online advocacy organization that campaigns to build political power for left-wing Hispanics. Co-founder Roberto Lovato described Presente.org as a “MoveOn.org for Latinos.”
Presente Action aligns closely with the left wing of the Democratic Party, supporting the efforts of MoveOn, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and 350 Action, to support the campaign of U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) to chair the Democratic National Committee.
Presente.org claims credit for removing conservative anchor Lou Dobbs from CNN for his opposition to illegal immigration.
History and Mission
Presente ACTION and Presente.org were formed in 2009 by Roberto Lovato, who has written for a number of left-wing media outlets including New America Media, The Nation, Mother Jones, and Salon, and left-wing activist artist Favianna Rodriguez.
In a 2010 interview Lovato described Presente as a “MoveOn.org for Latinos” with a goal to build the strength of the far left among Hispanics through online and offline organizing.
Presente ACTION was formed in 2009 in Berkeley, California, where it remained until 2015 when its headquarters moved to Oakland. The organization’s campaign-style activities are largely online through letters, petitions, social media, email, and advertising. Though it is headquartered in Oakland, Presente’s political activities are carried out by staff in remote locations.
On its 2010 IRS Form 990 tax form, Presente ACTION reported three officers, directors, trustees and key employees including a president, treasurer, and secretary. By 2016, the list of key individuals had grown to six people, including five board members and an executive director.
As of April 2018, Presente has ten staff members, headed by Executive Director Matt Nelson. There is also a communications director, senior technologist, campaign consultant, social media and content specialist, and online organizer.
Presente is funded through contributions, grants, and program service revenue. In the 2015 fiscal year, Presente ACTION’s total revenue was $114,884. 
As an IRS-designated 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, it is allowed to spend money on lobbying within certain limits. It is allowed to accept donations from 501(c)(3) nonprofits (which have stricter limits on lobbying expenditures). Unlike many other politically active nonprofits, Presente does not have a 501(c)(3) affiliate to accept tax-exempt donations. Instead, the organization directly solicits public contributions on its website through the liberal fundraising entity ActBlue Charities, the 501(c)(3) arm of the political action committee ActBlue and its 501(c)(4) affiliate, ActBlue Civics.
Presente is among a number of politically active left-of-center nonprofit organizations funded in part by Citizen Engagement Lab Education Fund, an affiliate of the Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL). CEL lists Presente as a partner organization. CEL shares Presente’s office space in Oakland, California. Executives for both organizations have served on each other’s boards, including CEL co-founders Daniel Souweine and Ian Inaba and Presente co-founder and current board member Favianna Rodriguez who is listed as a principal officer with CEL.
Unbound Philanthropy, a liberal immigration-focused grantmaking organization, gave $231,000 to Presente from 2013-2014. IRS tax documents show that in 2013 America’s Voice, a pro-immigration activist nonprofit organization, gave Presente $150,000 to support Presente’s work.
Democratic Party Politics
Presente—along with MoveOn, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and 350 Action—was characterized by CNN as one of the five groups considered to be “at the heart of the political Left” advancing the campaign of controversial left-wing U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) to lead the Democratic National Committee.
Presente has expressed a goal of granting legal status to all illegal immigrants in the United States. Its work takes place online through letters, petitions, social media, email, and advertising. Though it is headquartered in Oakland, Presente’s political activities are carried out by remote staff.
Presente often joins other left-wing pro-immigration and pro-illegal immigrant groups for its campaigns. Presente claimed victory in 2009 when right-wing populist Lou Dobbs stepped down from his CNN program amid protests of his opposition to illegal immigration. Presente co-founder Roberto Lovato told the New York Times that Dobbs used his television show to “incite fear and hate.”
The Hill reported in 2009 that Presente, “a liberal group,” launched a Spanish-language radio ad campaign in Republican congressional districts to try tying members to comments by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh calling then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist. When Presente suggested Florida Congressman Adam Putnam (R) endorsed Limbaugh’s comments, left-leaning “fact-checking” service Politifact found the statement false and called Presente’s tactic a “political sleight-of-hand.”
Presente was among a number of other groups in 2010 that pressured media organizations to drop the word “illegal” to describe illegal immigrants. By 2013, the left-leaning Associated Press, USA Today, ABC News, and NBC News had stopped using the term in their writing guidelines. The New York Times did not eliminate the term citing its accuracy but revised its writing guidelines to include alternate terminology.
Roberto Lovato is a co-founder of Presente.org. He is a journalist who writes for New America Media, The Nation, and HuffPost. He has also written for the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Salon, Der Spiegel, and La Opinion.
Favianna Rodriguez is a co-founder of Presente.org and a current board member. She is an artist and the executive director of CultureStrike, a national arts organization. She was a presenter at Netroots Nation conferences in 2012, 2013, and 2015.
Arturo Carmona was executive director of Presente.org until 2015, when he was hired by the campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as the campaign’s Latino Outreach and Southwest political director.
Matt Nelson has been executive director since June 2016. He is a former director at ColorofChange.org and wrote a book praising the demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown.