RWU’s LPI Executive Director Wins Young Leadership Award

Award recognizes young Rhode Islanders who serve their community through exceptional leadership and volunteerism

By Jill Rodrigues '05
Marcela Betancur

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Marcela Betancur, executive director of the Latino Policy Institute (LPI) at Roger Williams University, has received the Young Leadership Spark! Award from the United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI).

UWRI established the award to recognize young Rhode Islanders who serve their community through exceptional leadership and volunteerism. Betancur accepted the award at the organization’s annual ceremony on October 10.

Housed at RWU’s University College, LPI researches and analyzes data that stimulates public policy discourse and enhances the public's understanding of the Rhode Island Latino experience. With this information, Latinos’ social, economic and civic contributions to the state can be better documented, understood and engaged.

“Since her first day, Marcela has hit the ground running, breathing vibrancy into LPI,” University College Vice President Jamie Scurry said. “She has set a clear and inspiring course of action, at a time when a sound and thoughtful voice is needed to support and elevate issues affecting the Latino/a community.”

“This award is an immense honor, but it is also a reminder that we must always push and support young people – especially those of color – to be in leadership positions. I love the work I do within my community and I’m incredibly thankful to United Way of Rhode Island for recognizing that and for investing in their community and youth,” Betancur said.

In addition to her role at LPI, Betancur also serves on UWRI’s Young Leaders Circle, as vice president of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee & Civic Fund, and she is national program committee alumni chair for the New Leaders Council.