A leader dedicated to empowering her community
Yahaira “Jay” Placencia finds purpose in the Foundation’s equity initiatives that help leaders of color
As a longtime professional advisor and community partner to the Rhode Island Foundation, Yahaira “Jay” Placencia can’t pick just one favorite program at or led by the Foundation.
The Bank of America senior vice president has been creating change with the Foundation since Neil D. Steinberg became its President and CEO in 2008. She credits him with creating effective programming that utilizes the expertise of local community leaders.
Jay serves on the Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI) Steering Committee, Impact Investment Committee, and previously the Professional Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Latino Giving Circle.
“My favorite experience so far was sitting and hearing everyone’s stories on ELI,” she said.
She added it was humbling and inspiring to be a part of a program that helps leaders of color—of whom Jay said we thankfully have many given the size of our state – become more prominent so that true equity can be achieved in Rhode Island. The first ELI cohort of 30 members graduated in August 2022.
Another favorite for her is the Latino Philanthropic Giving Circle. Jay, who is Dominican, said the Foundation steered many Latinx leaders together to create a fund to help local Latino-led and Latino-focused organizations.
“The cool part about this program is that the dollars came from Latinos to help other Latinos,” she said. “There’s a lot of power in that.”
As she looks ahead to the future, Jay sees herself continuing to serve. Contributing to the Foundation’s positive impact and influence on important Rhode Island issues has led her to that decision. In her eyes, the Foundation brings people together for great ideas and strategies that are needed to make necessary improvements for all.
“There is always going to be a need for our community foundation,” Jay said when asked what the state would be like without the Rhode Island Foundation. “This state has so many needs. The fact that the Rhode Island Foundation is independent and can move on certain issues nimbly makes it very powerful.”
She continued, “Under Neil’s leadership, the Rhode Island Foundation became a superpower in our state. I am very proud and honored to have had a tiny little part in any of it.”
Yahaira “Jay” Placencia
is a Senior Vice President with U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Jay leads a team of specialists who provide investment and private banking services to high net worth clients, advising them on investments, trust and estate planning, and philanthropy. She has long been a friend of the Foundation, and currently serves on the ELI Steering Committee, is a member of the Latino Giving Circle, serves on the Rhode Island Foundation Impact Investment Committee, and has served on the Professional Advisory Council.