The Scholars' Latino Initiative was founded by Peter Kaufman in 2003. The program began as a partnership between Jordan Matthews High School in Siler City and students of UNC-Chapel Hill, with the mission of improving access to higher education for Latino high school students.
SLI has grown to include over sixty UNC students and accepts twenty-five new sophomores into its mentoring program each year. The Scholars' Latino Initiative has had a positive impact at Jordan Matthews High School: desire to attend an institution of higher learning is becoming a part of the Jordan Matthews culture. SLI's success in Chatham County has fueled expansion: programs have been formed in Lee, Asheboro and Orange Counties, and a sister organization has been created in Virginia in partnership with the University of Richmond.
The Scholars' Latino Initiative began as a student organization and has achieved such success that it is now a part of UNC's Center for Global Initiatives (CGI). With the new resources and leadership available in CGI, SLI has been focused on expansion across the state. SLI provides guidance and access to scholarship funds for its graduates.