Amadeo Peter Giannini was born on May 6, 1870 in San Jose, California. Known affectionately as “A.P.,” Giannini was not only an innovator in banking, but also a man with remarkable integrity and extraordinary faith in human character.
The son of Italian immigrants, A.P. left school at age 13 to work in a wholesale produce business in San Francisco. He retired at 31, married and financially secure. In 1904, A.P. founded the Bank of Italy. From the beginning, he was a unique banker, making loans to immigrants, farmers, small businesses, women and minorities. The bank’s loans and deposits quintupled within a year.
In 1909 Giannini began purchasing banks throughout California, converting them into branches of the Bank of Italy. By1918 the Bank of Italy had become the first statewide bank in the United States. In 1930 the Bank of Italy was renamed the Bank of America, and would soon become the largest banking institution in the world.
A.P. supported causes he believed in and followed his instincts with memorable results: In 1906, when the great earthquake struck San Francisco, he personally rescued the bank’s gold and currency, and his was the first bank to resume operations. When Walt Disney ran $2 million over budget on Snow White, Giannini loaned the essential funds. And when no other institution would finance the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, he stepped forward.
A.P. earned the affection and loyalty of devoted friends, business associates and employees with his warm personality. He had an intense desire to succeed and to enable others to excel. Throughout his life he developed people of outstanding talents, yet remained mindful of the less fortunate. While his public benefactions were legion and well published, many other people quietly benefited from his energy, kind spirit and generosity.
A. P. was a carrier of hemophilia, and committed to promoting the discovery and treatment of human disease. On his 75th birthday, May 6, 1945, he created and endowed the A. P. Giannini Foundation with a personal gift of nearly $500,000 to support innovative research in the basic sciences and applied fields. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided funding to over 700 postdoctoral biomedical researchers at California’s accredited medical schools. Giannini postdoctoral fellows are among the most highly respected medical and scientific investigators in their respective fields, and have served as mentors to succeeding generations of young scientists.
The A.P. Giannini Foundation invites physician-scientists and junior researchers with 0-3 years of postdoctoral research experience to apply to the Postdoctoral Research Program. Proposed research should advance the translation of biomedical science into preventions and cures for human diseases and train fellows to become established investigators.
The Foundation awards six to eight new fellowships annually on a competitive, peer-review basis, and funds fellowships up to a maximum of three years. Recent awards support research in embryonic development, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, autism, immunity and aging; and novel therapies to address fertility issues, cystic fibrosis, melanoma, Hepatitis B, diabetes and prostate cancer.