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by Gail Matsunaga
Dr. Harry R. Gianneschi, 1944 - 2009
Vice President, University Advancement (1991 - 2001)
Among his many contributions to the university as vice president for advancement, Harry R. Gianneschi founded the Center for Nonprofit Research. As a tribute to him, and on the occasion of his recent retirement, the center was renamed in Gianneschi's honor.
Established in 1996 with Kathleen Costello as executive director, the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research serves the community and the field of nonprofit sector research as a repository for data about philanthropic, charitable and volunteer activity in Orange County. Its first comprehensive report on the Orange County nonprofit field appeared that year, with a second report issued in 2000.
It is because of the nonprofit sector's substantial impact on the county, state and nation that the center was created. "We developed the center because we continued to see the fast-growing nonprofit sector of Orange County suffering from a lack of sophisticated information and knowledge," Gianneschi explains. "If you were, for example, desiring to create a small 'profit' business in Orange County, the resources available to you are astronomical. If, on the other hand, you wished to set up a new nonprofit organization, you would soon find it very difficult to find even the slightest information on how to go about establishing a charitable enterprise.
"Although the nonprofit sector in Orange County provides thousands of jobs and creates millions of dollars in revenue, it has been virtually impossible to get any clear picture of this sector. Prior to the implementation of the center at Cal State Fullerton, there was no solid informational base to answer even the simplest of questions, such as how many nonprofits are in Orange County, and what are they doing to assist the community they serve?"
Gianneschi joined Cal State Fullerton in 1991. Under his leadership, the university enjoyed nine consecutive years of fund-raising growth, with a 1999-2000 total of $14.5 million -compared to $2.5 million raised in 1991-92. Among the programs, events, projects and campaigns created and developed during his tenure were the Front & Center and Vision & Visionaries events, George G. Golleher Alumni House and El Dorado Ranch renovations, Goodwin Field baseball and softball expansion, Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation (formerly the University Advancement Foundation), It's Our University faculty/staff campaign, Guardian Scholars program, Executive Alumni Speakers Series, the naming of the Paulina June & George Pollak Library, A Bid of Excitement auction and completion of Titan Stadium.