Latino Policy Institute (LPI)



Providence, RI


Advocacy Group


2009 (as program of Roger Williams University)

2023 (as independent entity)

Executive Director:

Marcela Betancur

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Latino Policy Institute (LPI) advocates on state legislation and conducts research and education to advance left-of-center and Latino-focused interests within the state of Rhode Island. 1

The organization claims credit for expanding health coverage for abortions, improving mental health assistance, and expanding driving privilege cards throughout Rhode Island. 2


Latino Policy Institute (LPI) was incubated at Roger Williams University beginning in 2009 and became an independent research and advocacy organization in 2023. LPI was founded to influence policymaking and pursue greater social, political, educational, and economic equal outcomes for Latinos in Rhode Island. 3 4

Partners and Coalitions

Latino Policy Institute is part of seven coalitions that in total consist of 100 member organizations. LPI partnered with Latino Mental Health Network of Rhode Island with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island to hold policy forums, focus groups and idea generation for aiding in the treatment of mental-health issues. 5

LPI is part of Raising Rhode Island Coalition, which works to increase the use of RI Works, a cash assistance program for children and parents or caregivers that also gives education and training opportunities for those in need. 6

LPI is a part of and collaborated with the Immigrant Coalition of Rhode Island, the State Department of Revenue, and the Department of Motor Vehicles to implement driving privilege cards for illegal immigrants. Other members of the coalition include the ACLU of Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE), Progreso Latino, the Economic Progress Institute, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) RI State Council. 7

The organization is part of the RI Life Index, a project of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Brown University School of Public Health that works to create access to health care for all Rhode Islanders. 8

LPI is partnered with Common Cause Rhode Island’s Demystifying Democracy Series, a program designed to educate participants in understanding how laws and policy are initiated. 9

LPI is a member of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA) Campaign Steering Committee along with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE), that ensures that those covered by Medicaid and state employee health plans are not denied coverage for abortion services in their health plans. 10

The organization is a campaign leader along with Parents Leading for Educational Equity and Beautiful Beginnings of the Right from the Start Coalition that secured $7 million in new funding for early childhood programs in Rhode Island. 11


Latino Policy Institute together with Latino Mental Health Network of Rhode Island published research results titled “Latino Mental Health Pipeline” that found students of color are far less likely to seek mental health counseling than white students at Rhode Island College. The report made recommendations for preparing students for mental and behavioral health careers, scholarships for Latinos and people of color, and greater investment in Latino communities. 12


Latino Policy Institute receives support from public officials including U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Rhode Island Secretary of State Gregg Amore (D) and organizations including Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE), Center for Justice, Rhode Island College, and The Economic Progress Institute. 13


Marcela Betancur is Latino Policy Institute’s executive director. She was previously a policy associate for Rhode Island’s state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and sits on the boards of New Urban, United Way of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island State Board of Elections. 14


  1. Tblaze. “About Us.” Latino Policy Institute, January 22, 2024.
  2. “Latino Policy Institute 2020- 2025 strategic plan”, Accessed May 6, 2024.
  3. “Latino Policy Institute 2020- 2025 strategic plan”, Accessed May 6, 2024.
  4. Fitzpatrick, Edward. “The Latino Policy Institute Will Leave Roger Williams University – The Boston Globe.”, April 25, 2023.
  5. “Home: Latino Mental Health Network of Ri.” Latino Mental Health. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  6. “Lifting Children & Families out of Deep Poverty.” Raising Rhode Island. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  7. “Who Are We?” The Immigrant Coalition of Rhode Island. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  8. Ri life index | health is more than healthcare. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  9. “Demystifying Democracy.” Common Cause Rhode Island, January 29, 2024.
  10. Parenthood, Planned. “Fact Sheet: Equality in Abortion Coverage Act.” Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island. Accessed May 6, 2024.
  11. “Childhood Advocacy: About Us.” RIght From The Start RI, December 19, 2023.
  12. “Latino Mental Health Pipeline” Latino Policy Institute, Accessed May 4, 2024.
  13. “Annual Report 2023.” Latino Policy Institute. Accessed May 29, 2024.
  14. “Marcela Betancur.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 6, 2024.
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Latino Policy Institute (LPI)

Providence, RI