The Latino Research and Policy Center (LRPC) was founded on July 1, 1997. The LRPC came into being after the demise of the Colorado Hispanic Institute (CHI, 1986–1996), which operated on the campuses of the University of Colorado at Denver and two other Denver colleges. CHI board members wanted to continue CHI's work by establishing a Latino “think tank".
The LRPC was established to research Latino issues in health, education, and immigration. Through the Social Action Research Model, research would have a positive and socially-active effect on the community that it studied and not be purely academic.