Arab American Action Network (Chicago, IL)


  • Name:Mr. Hatem Abudayyeh
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Arab American Action Network
  • Address:3148 W. 63rd Street
    2nd floor
    Chicago, IL 60629
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:7733014108
  • Main fax:7734366460

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • The Arab American Action Network (AAAN) strives to strengthen the Arab community in the Chicago area by building its capacity to be an active agent for positive social change. As a grassroots nonprofit, our strategies include community organizing, advocacy, education, providing social services, leadership development, cultural outreach and forging productive relationships with other communities.

    Our vision is for a strong Arab American community whose members have the power to make decisions about actions and policies that affect their lives and have access to a range of social, political, cultural and economic opportunities in a context of equity and social justice.

  • Overview:
  • Located on 63rd Street on the southwest side of Chicago, the AAAN is a secular and inclusive voice for the Arab community in Chicago. The AAAN's annual budget is near $500,000, with four full-time and nine part-time staff. Its staff is bi-lingual (Arabic and English), and lives in the same cultural environment as most of its clients. As the longest-running Arab social service agency in greater Chicago, the AAAN has the capacity to reach a large sector of the Arab community in southwest Chicago and the southwest suburbs. We also direct a satellite office in Bridgeview, IL, which is more accessible to the majority of the Arab community.

    Since the U.S. Census does not provide an accurate count of Arabs in the United States, the AAAN has used our own comprehensive needs assessments, and data later compiled by prominent immigrant-community researcher Rob Parel and especially the Arab American Institute (AAI) and reputable pollsters Zogby International, to profile the demographics of the Arab community in Chicago and its suburbs and identify and cater to community needs.

    Our programs:

    Family Empowerment Program (FEP): the AAAN knows it is necessary to meet basic needs in these difficult economic times, and we help meet these needs through social services, civic engagement, adult education/citizenship instruction, and the family literacy project. Our caseworkers provide culturally- and linguistically-relevant assistance to families from the Arab community, as well as other residents of the southwest side, helping them apply for food stamps, cash assistance, medical cards, and other government provisions. FEP is considered a model by our partners at the Illinois Department of Human Services. We serve over 3,000 clients per year, and provide important advocacy when needed.

    The FEP also helps hundreds of clients pass their citizenship exams per year, and organizes three levels of ESL classes for adult immigrant Arab women, instructing over 100 per year. The Arab Women's Committee provides leadership and economic development skills for new immigrants. And our family literacy project is the only one of its kind in the Arab community of Chicagoland, combining adult education, children’s education, parenting skills, library services, and Parents and Children Together (PACT) activities for close to 50 families.

    Youth Organizing: our youth organizing program has a membership of over 300 youth ages 14-24, mostly Arab but also African American and Latino, offering them a safe space to learn about issues that affect their lives, and work with adults and other youth to develop leadership, and a strong sense of their Arab and Muslim culture and history. Youth explore various topics through community-based research, and find alternatives to destructive activities in the streets. Projects have included Silent Echoes, which uses spoken word and creative writing as an entrée into community issues; mapping Arab homes and surveying Arab families; interviewing Arab and Muslim women about how double standards affect their lives; creating workshops about different Arab countries; and a Youth Leadership Team, the most advanced of the youth participants, which plays a crucial role in the development of the program.

    Youth Services: the AAAN operates an after school program at Stevenson Elementary School, where staff and volunteers provide homework assistance, tutoring, mentoring, and social and leadership development activities for over 40 elementary school students, mostly Arab, but also African American and Latino. The program is a positive environment for children and youth ages six to thirteen, where they meet adult Arab and Muslim role models who encourage them to be productive members of society; and where they enjoy many other activities such as science experiments, field trips, and arts and crafts. AAAN staff builds relationships with parents, teachers, and schools to provide comprehensive youth development.

    We also operate a youth summer camp for over 60 children and youth, which offers expanded educational and recreational activities for the same demographic. More than 100 children and youth are served overall per year.

    Cultural Outreach: our goal is to raise awareness on Arab and Muslim issues in the U.S. We provide presentations for schools, faith institutions, corporations, and other community organizations on a range of topics including The Arab World, Arab Americans, Arab Culture, and Islam.

  • History:
  • In 1972, a precursor to the AAAN, the Arab Community Center (ACC), was established as an organization that new Arab immigrants relied upon for services, social connectedness and an Arab identity in Chicago. By 1990, the ACC had become the nucleus for these activities in Chicago.

    Following the Gulf War in 1990-1991, it became clear that there was a need for services that catered to the increasing number of Arab immigrants moving to the area. Such services were an important component of empowering the community and building the capacity to engage in mainstream civil society.
    Leaders of the ACC, with the help of other community leaders, formed the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) as a formal vehicle to develop a coherent Arab-American agenda, create programs to address community needs and reduce barriers to utilizing mainstream services.

    Housed in the ACC, the AAAN was not perceived as a new or separate organization, but rather as the formalization of a network of community leaders that had long been working together to serve the community.

    AAAN received its 501(c)(3) status in October 1995, and operations officially began in January 1996. A board was formed, including professionals, passionate intellectuals, and grassroots activists (both Arab and non-Arab), some living in the community and many working in the area. They were committed to reducing the isolation experienced by Arab Americans and assisting them in becoming active participants and leaders in American society.

    We published the first-ever needs assessment of the Arab community in Chicago in 1998. Entitled "Meeting Community Needs, Building on Community Strengths," it provides a detailed description of the community’s history and social and economic status, as well as its strengths and areas of need. This was followed in late 1998 by focus groups with various community members and stakeholders in order to set priorities for action. Together these community-based initiatives served as the basis for AAAN’s first strategic plan, completed in 1999.

    In 2008, we embarked on an organizational evaluation that was supported by the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC). It was used as an internal document studied and discussed by staff, board, and program participants and constituents, and led to a structural shift in our work. That is when we added advocacy and leadership development to our organizational strategy, and began focusing on supporting the empowerment of the community at the same time as we continued to strengthen our core programming in the areas of human and youth services, respectively.

    The AAAN is considered a leader in Arab cultural arts in Chicagoland, having organized six musical events over the past decade that have each attracted between 700 and 1,400 attendees. In 2014, Halima Bahri, our Youth Services Program Coordinator, received the Eagle of the Year award from Stevenson Elementary School, for her exemplary work with students there; and all 75 of our citizenship students passed their naturalization exams on the first attempt.

    Three years ago, former AAAN Director of Program Development, Gihad Ali, established what we believe is the only Healthy Relationships project for Arab youth in the entire country. The project was launched with funding (the AAAN was one of only eight grantees in the country) from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to evaluate our domestic violence prevention work. It built our capacity to conduct evaluations that better gauge the efficacy of our projects and programs—to “strengthen what works”—and to disseminate best practices from that learning across the community. Ali and Executive Director Hatem Abudayyeh were the primary authors of a case study of the project, which can be found at

    Ali won NNAAC and the Arab American Institute’s (AAI’s) Emerging Leader Award in 2011, received the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Impact Award two years later, and just last year took home another honor from the Muslim Women’s Alliance. She is the driving force behind a short film we are producing, which will be used to organize dialogue around patriarchy and double standards faced by Arab and Muslim women.

  • Year established:1995
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:4
  • Advisory board size:4
  • Staff size:13


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:36-4034958

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:364034958
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% MAHA JARAD
  • Organization Address:3148 W 63RD ST
  • Organization City:CHICAGO
  • Organization State:IL
  • Organization Zip:60629-2750
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:October, 1995
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):995, 149
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Described in section 509(a)(2) of the Code, Other instruction and training
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:O99
  • Asset Amount:$118,907
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$353,248
  • Income Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$353,248
  • Last Updated:2/17/2018 5:29:44 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.