CSI alumnus and Treasurer of the CSI Foundation Board Richard Prinzi, Jr. CPA, of the accounting firm Prinzi & Tapinis, LLC, has recently announced the creation of a $25,000 scholarship endowment to help CSI students who are pursuing their Certified Public Accountant certification. Originally, a four-year program, CPA certification now requires five years.

“It’s a $25,000 initial endowment and we’re going to contribute more to it annually. In fact every one of my employees has signed a pledge to contribute not only to the scholarship fund, every year going forward, whether they’re working here or not, but also to contribute to CSI’s Annual Fund drive…Hopefully, the extra fifth year that’s required now for the CPA candidates, we’re going to help some of them pay for that extra year.”

This isn’t the first time that Prinzi has exhibited his passion for his alma mater. In the past, he has served as President of the CSI Alumni Association, a position that he held for over ten years prior to joining the Foundation Board; he’s been an adjunct instructor at the College since 1997, teaching business and accounting courses; he accepts interns from CSI at his firm; and just recently, he announced the creation of Professional Tax Alliance, Inc. (PTA), which employs 33 CSI accounting graduates who provide tax services to underserved and often victimized taxpayers who are not willing to hire or cannot afford a CPA firm. In fact, 39 of the total 40 Prinzi & Tapinis employees, including Prinzi’s partner, John Tapinis, are CSI alumni.

“The opportunity [to found PTA] just seemed too obvious to me,” Prinzi recalls. “I had 40 or so applicants for the two positions that I had at my corporate firm, so, when I met with them, I couldn’t cut it down by more than 27, because they were all great candidates. So, we had this retail tax business in the hopper and when I saw the quality of individuals who were not getting jobs, and the amount of quality talent that was coming out of CSI this year, and the positive energy surrounding the current administration, it just seemed like the perfect time. So, we rallied everything together and we opened the locations.” At present, PTA has four locations, but an additional six are scheduled to open, Island-wide, in 2010.

Beyond the large list of qualified candidates, Prinzi also reports that he started PTA as a matter of pride in the College. “One of the things that motivated me to put this business together was to be able to go out and show it off as truly a CSI-born and supported business. I was going to set the example, so to speak, to show what CSI grads can do.”

This pride, according to Prinzi comes from the fact that his CSI education has allowed him to “compete at the highest level of my profession,” beginning his career as an auditor at the prestigious firm Deloitte & Touche LLP.

In addition, as he explains why he is passionate about CSI, Prinzi imparts his philosophy to other alumni in an effort to get them to support the College. “The way I look at it is, you can’t give enough to this institution because the more you give, the more it gives back to you. The education is just the beginning. It all starts with a good degree. I think our professors are second to none and I still have a relationship with many of them, but the more effort I put into trying to make CSI a better place, the more rewarding my life and career becomes.”

Prinzi is encouraged by the initial response from the College community for the new tax business and hopes that all of the Island’s CSI supporters will take advantage of the 10% CSI discount or show our graduates their support by stopping in for a free consultation this season.