SF State Alumnus Leads Giants Community
Life-long fan now a major player behind the scenes
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SF State alumnus John Gumas has been appointed the new chairman of the San Francisco Giants Community Fund, and he is ready to step up to the plate for Bay Area kids in need.

Some of the duties of the Giants Community Fund include providing scholarships to Bay Area youth, building and renovating baseball fields for kids to play on, and running Jr. Giants Baseball leagues for children.

Gumas was born and raised in San Francisco, and is a life-long Giants fan. As a kid, his favorite baseball player was Willie Mays.

“I remember when I was growing up my dad worked at Candlestick Park, and on Saturday and Sunday I would go with him to work," Gumas said. “While he worked at the park I would watch the games.”

With a life of good memories involving the city of San Francisco and the Giants baseball team, it is no surprise that Gumas stuck around in the Bay Area and found a home within the Giants organization, where he could give back to the community.

“I consider myself very lucky to be in a position where I can help people,” Gumas said of his community work. “I have a huge responsibility to keep it going and help more people.”

Gumas graduated from SF State in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing and an emphasis in advertising. He said that he enjoyed his time at SF State because it prepared him for when he got out in the real world.

“The professors I had when I was there had real-world experience, and that was important for me. That combination of classroom work as well as real-world work, I feel made the difference,” he said.

In 1984, he opened Gumas Advertising and in 1999 he was placed on the board of directors for the Giants Community Fund.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Gumas of joining the Giants Community Fund, which he said is the top-rated community program in all of sports. “There are so many kids out there that have so little and need so much, and the community fund provides it for them.”

“Every year we redo one to two fields throughout the Bay Area," Gumas said. “Usually the fields are in underprivileged areas where you look at the ‘before’ and wonder why any kid would want to be there, and what used to go on there is probably too scary to talk about.”

Major donations from local businesses and baseball players, as well as appearances from current and former members of the Giants are what make the community fund so effective. According to Gumas, every field dedication is named after the player who chooses to sponsor it.

“The Giants’ organization is phenomenal for anyone that has had an opportunity to be involved in it,” he said, “and entrenched in it like I am, you would be incredibly impressed with how smart they are, how business minded they are, and how focused they are in the community.”

Gumas said his time at SF State gave him a good foundation on which to build his business and career.

“One of the many things that SF State delivered to me was hands-on experience,” he said. “For a couple years I was president of the advertising club, which was probably the greatest experience I ever had because it really prepared me for what the real world of advertising was going to be like.”

Gumas used his experiences at SF State to open Gumas Advertising just one year removed from college. At the time he had no idea where life was going to take him.

According to Gumas, his advertising agency focuses on companies that are being significantly out-spent by larger competitors. His clients include sports, hi tech, consumer electronics, financial and retail companies.

“We look at ourselves as being business builders," Gumas said. “Our goal is to help companies grow, companies become more successful, companies brand themselves and position themselves more effectively.”

It was his work at Gumas Advertising that gave him the tools necessary to be selected as a member of the Giants Community Fund after being recommended from within the organization because they needed a member with marketing expertise. Now he sits on the Giants Community Fund Board of Directors as the chairman, looking to make the program even more successful than it already is.

“We are looking to expand some of the services that we offer,” Gumas said. “Provide more scholarships, provide a lot more health initiatives to the kids of America that need these things, provide more opportunities to kids that never even thought of going to college.”

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PHOTO
Andrew Prine | staff photographer
John Gumas, who graduated from SF State in 1983 and founded Gumas Advertising in 1984, is now Chair of the Board of Directors for the SF Giants Community Fund.

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