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Beebe Healthcare receives historic $6M donation

Katie Tabeling
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Beebe Healthcare has received a $6 million donation from financial executive Rocco Abessino and his family to aid the southern Delaware health care institution’s fundraising goals.

Beebe’s Rehoboth Beach campus has been renamed the Abessinio Health Campus in recognition of the $6 million donation. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BEEBE HEALTHCARE

REHOBOTH BEACH  — Beebe Healthcare announced Tuesday morning it has received a $6 million donation from financial executive Rocco Abessinio and his family to aid the southern Delaware health care institution’s fundraising goals.

The gift is the second-largest in Beebe Healthcare’s history, behind a $10 million donation from the Rollins Family in 2017.

Beebe officials have no set plans on how to use the $6 million at this time, but it would help build on the foundation of its ongoing capital campaign to expand comprehensive care in the southern end of the state. Beebe Medical Foundation President Tom Protack lauded the donation as a “great gift that will live on in perpetuity.” 

“This will help us with so many things in the future as we continue to roll out our strategic plan,” Protack told the Delaware Business Times. “As I like to say, transformational gifts like this can help make some of our dreams a reality sooner.”

Rocco and Mary Abessinio | PHOTO COURTESY OF BEEBE HEALTHCARE

Beebe’s Rehoboth Beach campus will be renamed the Abessinio Health Campus in recognition of the contribution. The campus near the intersection of John J. Williams Highway and Warrington Road is anchored by its 135,000-square-foot Specialty Surgical Hospital that cost $125 million. Opened for service in May 2022, it has four operating rooms, 18 patient bays for pre- and post-operative care as well as 24 private patient rooms for short stays. 

“With our region’s anticipated growth comes an expected increase in patients that will need more access to healthcare,” Beebe Healthcare President and CEO David Tam said. “Sussex County is and remains our specialty. This very generous gift from the Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation will help us advance patient care even more as we grow for the future. I am very thankful to Rocco and Mary and their family for this transformational gift.”

Abessinio is the founder and CEO of Applied Bank, a commercial bank headquartered in Wilmington that grew to be among the top issuers of Visa and MasterCards. He also established Roch Capital, which owns hotels and commercial offices throughout the country. A Wilmington native, Abessino is an alumni of Salesianum High School. He and his wife, Mary, now live in Boca Raton, Fla., and spend their summers in Rehoboth Beach with their families.

The Abessinios established the Rocco A. and Mary Abessinio Foundation Inc. in 2001. It has since funded scholarships, capital campaigns and social programs across the country. Other notable donations throughout the years, such as $16 million to Salesianum High School for a new stadium and endowment and $1 million to ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Hospital.

“Our family is very proud to make this gift to Beebe Healthcare, and we believe that all families and communities deserve better access and excellence in healthcare that Beebe provides,” Rocco Abessinio said in a prepared statement.  “It is an honor for our family to support the expansion of this community-focused healthcare system in Sussex County.”

As Sussex County continues to grow its population in leaps and bounds, health care providers have been considering how to meet the demand that seniors and retirees have for services. Current population projections predict that the population growth in Sussex County will more than double the national average by 2027. In July 2021, Beebe Healthcare launched the “Sussex Supports Beebe Healthcare” comprehensive campaign to mainly fund a family medicine residency program, buy a Mobile Health Clinic as well as establish a center for breast health, among other goals.

In November, Beebe officials announced it reached its goal, by raising $22.5 million at the time. In response, the health care system raised the fundraising goal to $30 million.

“We’ve now surpassed that with the Abessino family’s gift. For the second time, we will have to increase our goal to $40 million,” Protack  said. “Like many people in our state, the Abessinos  realize that Beebe Healthcare would be their health care provider of choice for one of the fastest growing areas of the state.”

“A Delaware family that has done well in business is sharing their blessings with us, and it’s important to me that we have their support to best use the investment,” he added. “I also hope this gift inspires others in the community to support Beebe.”

 

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