We build pathways for Latino scholars

Who we are

For 75 years, LAEF has provided scholarships to Colorado Latino students to help them reach their highest potential.

Our Vision

To create more accessible and equitable educational pathways for the Latino community in the state of Colorado.

Our Mission

We invest in the promise of Colorado Latino students through scholarships, educational opportunities, and community partnerships so they can achieve their highest potential.

Our Values

These values serve as guiding principles for our organization, scholars and community partners.


LAEF values the cultural wealth and generational wisdom within the Latino community. We strive to draw upon our collective strength and nourish the Colorado Latino community in culturally responsive ways.


LAEF believes that equity is achieved by providing opportunity and access to all Colorado Latino students. This is accomplished by allocating resources in such a way that considers systemic injustices, individual circumstances, and working to remove and reduce barriers to allow our scholars to thrive.


LAEF values being honest and trustworthy in all situations and behaving in ethical ways, especially in challenging moments. We are committed to responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us through accountability and transparency with our partners and scholars.


LAEF is driven by the deep desire to actualize and magnify the dreams of our ancestors through innovation and building the capacity of the Colorado Latino community.


LAEF believes owning the strength and beauty of the Latino community and sharing its wisdom will empower future generations to engage their communities and influence the greater good. We lead and cultivate Colorado leaders through self-awareness, love and respect for the gifts of the Latino community to honor our history and heritage.
Our History & Our Legacy
Established in 1949, LAEF is the oldest Latino scholarship organization in the state of Colorado.

LAEF has a proven and rich legacy in meeting the needs of Colorado Latino students. Our generational impact through scholarships is felt in every corner of the state through the success of our alumni. The Latin American Educational Foundation was founded by a group of dedicated men and women determined to ensure that future generations of Colorado Latinos would have access to higher education and make a better life for themselves.

Since its inception, LAEF has awarded over 7,000 scholarships to Colorado Latino scholars. LAEF has established itself as a leader in meeting the higher educational needs of Latino students in Colorado. LAEF focuses on providing scholarship funding for students to mitigate financial barriers, offers on-going support and advisement to students and families, and creates pathways to pursue higher education.

LAEF has found success in reaching these goals through:
• Our continuous growth of our scholarships program
• Establishing community collaboration efforts
• Developing support services for Latino students in attaining their college degrees

Our Team

President & CEO

Nick Lopez

Nick is a Colorado native, born and raised in Pueblo. As a first-generation college student, he believes deeply in advancing educational opportunities for all Colorado Latino students. Nick has over 20 years of national experience in philanthropy and non-profit leadership. He also has a background in higher education, having worked in various leadership roles at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the University of Denver.  He earned his BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and MS in Public Service Management from DePaul University. Nick currently serves on the Community Advisory Board of PBS12. Additionally, he was a member of the Volunteers of America Colorado Board of Directors (2017-2020) and a member of the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Equity Champions Coalition (2017-2018). He is also a proud and active alumnus of the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), a nationally recognized non-profit organization focused on engaging Latino high school youth in community leadership opportunities that advance our quality of life. In 2022, he was honored as the NHI Person of the Year.

Email: nlopez@laef.org
Director of Development

Sarah Alarcon

Sarah Alarcon is a proud Chicana from Texas and a former high school English teacher, swim coach, and financial advisor. Sarah taught abroad in Colombia and Spain where she infused her passion for poetry into teaching high school students English. Sarah received her BA in English & Creative Writing from Texas A&M University and her Secondary Education Certification from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds FINRA Series 7 & 66 Licenses. Sarah is deeply committed to community engagement and serves on the development committee for the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) Denver Chapter. As an educator and finance professional, her ganas for growing educational pathways for students, building wealth in the Latine community, and serving as an engaged leader in our community is undeniable. Sarah is excited to be a part of the LAEF team at this pivotal time in its history as we plan and build for the future.

Email: salarcon@laef.org
Student Services and Programs Manager

Melissa Muniz

Melissa is a proud LAEF alum (2011-2012) and currently serves as the Student Services & Programs Manager at LAEF. Her professional passion stems from eight years of experience in a variety of educational settings and is rooted by her own journey as a first-generation college student. Melissa graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She believes graduating as a first-gen college student is a testament to the importance of combining education and community support, which is what drives her work. To better support students and foster their success, Melissa decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Counselor Education, School Counseling and Guidance Services at the University of Colorado in Denver. She will earn her MA in May 2024 and is excited to apply her education and continue growing with LAEF.

Email: mmuniz@laef.org
Program Services Coordinator

Lia Carpio

Lia holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with concentrations in Political Science and History from The Florida State University and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL) from Adams State University. With over 25 years of experience in youth leadership development, Lia believes everyone has the capacity for leadership and a responsibility to being active members of their communities. Previously, she served as the director of the HEAL graduate program at Adams State University and was a regional project administrator for the Colorado Trust, a health equity foundation. Additionally, she is a member of the National Hispanic Institute’s Board of Trustees and served as the Education Director for their Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session from 2010 to 2021.

Email: lcarpio@laef.org
Accounting & Finance

Kourtney Rimbert

Kourtney Rimbert oversees accounting & finance at LAEF.  She brings 15 years of professional experience where prior, she was a Finance Director for a large non-profit organization with locations in Colorado and Utah, managing account staff and all aspects of financial management for activities throughout North and South America, as well as managing accounting for a family business during this time.Kourtney has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Phoenix and an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in accounting from Mesa University. She is also an Intuit Quickbooks Pro Advisor. Kourtney is Principal with The Accounting Department for Non-profits (ADNP).

Board of Directors

Guillermo Lambarri

Director of External Affairs, CO & WY

Dr. Shannon Archibeque-Engle

Associate VP for Inclusive Excellence
Colorado State University-Ft. Collins

Lawrence Garcia

Sr. Mgr of Labor & Employee Relations
Denver Public Schools

Adrian Castro

Fairfield & Woods

Tony Salazar

Past Chair
VP for Outreach & Engagement
University of Colorado
LAEF Alumnus Scholar

Michelle Griego

News Anchor
CBS News Colorado

Crestina Martinez

Colorado State Director
USDA Rural Development
LAEF Alumna Scholar

Dr. Roberto Montoya

Associate VP of Partner Success – Hispanic Serving Institutions

Pauline Rivera

Owner & Publisher
La Voz Colorado

Marcia Romero

VP of Community Relations for CO & NM
U.S. Bank
LAEF Alumna Scholar