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Latino Leadership Institute transitions to independent nonprofit

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

Dear DU community members,

I am pleased to announce that, after seven years of partnering with the University of Denver, the Latino Leadership Institute (LLI) will become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization effective July 1, 2021. This transition will better allow the LLI to respond to the increasing national demand for Latino leadership.

While LLI’s operations, research and programming will be independent from the university, DU and the LLI are committed to an ongoing partnership that will enable them to continue working together, including: collaborating around people and leadership development for the Latino and BIPOC communities; engaging with DU faculty around diversity, equity and inclusion endeavors; and exploring partnership opportunities around Latino and BIPOC entrepreneurship and economics.

The LLI’s mission is to help Latino professionals advance their careers and serve as influential leaders in the community, honor the often-untold stories of Latino leadership and advance research on changing demographics, reinforcing the increasing prominence and promise of the Latino community in Colorado and throughout the country.

The Latino Leadership Institute has attained tremendous influence in the state of Colorado and with this step is poised to become even more impactful in the years to come. I am pleased that DU has been part of the success of the LLI from its beginnings and has helped LLI grow. I am looking forward to continuing our partnership through this evolution and beyond.

Since 2014, under the leadership of its executive director, Joelle Martinez, the Latino Leadership Institute has elevated Latino leaders across the state of Colorado. Through LLI’s annual fellowship—now celebrating Cohort 10—Latino leaders gain access to neuroscience-based curriculum and a network of industry experts. The LLI’s alumni network is now over 200 members strong, applying the skills they developed through LLI across all sectors and industries. Over 60 percent of LLI alumni hold advanced degrees and have 15 years, on average, of professional experience. Additionally, LLI has continued to provide research and thought leadership meaningful not only to the Latino community, but to the state and nation.

“One of the values that drive the work of the LLI is collaboration," Joelle Martinez says. "We fundamentally believe that we can achieve more when we work together. Over the last seven years, the meaningful partnership with DU has allowed us to think bigger and do more. We are grateful for the support we have received and look forward to continuing our important work together.”  

It has been an honor for the University of Denver to serve as partner and incubator for the Latino Leadership Institute, and I and the entire DU community wish the institute, Joelle, and her staff well during this exciting transition. To learn more about LLI's outstanding work, contact


Jeremy Haefner