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Fusco donates $10M for new Salesianum sports fields

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The new Fusco Fields complex will include two multi-purpose fields for lacrosse and soccer and a new baseball diamond. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SALESIANUM

WILMINGTON – Anthony N. Fusco Sr., the namesake founder of New Castle-based real estate development and management firm Fusco Management, announced a $10 million donation to Salesianum School on April 27.

The funding will create the Fusco Fields sports complex, replacing an existing patchwork of natural grass practice fields with state-of-the-art turf fields for both practice and competition, while also improving the streetscape along Broom Street.

Anthony Fusco Sr. Salesianum School Wilmington Delaware donation $10 million

Anthony Fusco Sr. addresses the crowd in announcing his second $10 million donation to Salesianum School in Wilmington. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GARRETT LEWIS/SALESIANUM

It marks the second time that Fusco has contributed an eye-popping $10 million sum to the private Catholic all-boys high school in Wilmington. In 2014, he contributed as much to support the school’s endowment fund.

Fusco’s latest contribution is the school’s fourth gift of $10 million or more in the last decade, making it one of only a handful of secondary schools in the country to receive such a level of philanthropic support.

It’s also notable because Fusco is not an alumnus of Sallies, although his grandson, Frank J. Vassallo IV, is and today he runs the eponymous development firm. After his 2014 donation, the school made Fusco an honorary alumnus.

“I think Sallies does things the right way. I tell people all the time that I wish I had gone to Sallies. But for me, this is the next best thing: to make sure that other kids can go and that when they do, it’s an experience that gives them the tools to be who they are and be that well,” Fusco said in a statement announcing the donation.

The new Fusco Fields complex will be the second time that Fusco has left his imprint on Salesianum, having already received the naming rights to the Anthony N. Fusco Sr Athletic Center that is home to the school’s gym, weight room and athletic training facilities.

Sallies is a heavyweight sports program in Delaware that competes at the state’s highest levels, having won more than 150 state championships. It has also produced professional athletes like the NBA’s Donte DiVincenzo and NFL’s Troy Reeder.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have people like Tony who, more than just understanding the value of the education and experience we provide, also possess the willingness to make cornerstone gifts which allow us to build upon the school’s rich foundation and legacy,” Salesianum School President Thomas Kardish said in a statement. “While I am excited about all of the possibilities that are open to us in terms of programming and schedule with Fusco Fields, I am hopeful that this announcement is also a moment to express our gratitude to Tony for all that he has done to build God’s Kingdom here at 18th and Broom streets.”

Fusco Fields, and more efficient use of the school’s existing footprint, will allow more of the school’s teams to practice simultaneously and reliably, no longer subject to the vagaries of weather or field conditions, officials said.

Once completed, athletes and spectators alike will be able to access 250,000 square feet of turf fields via a pathway along the north edge of campus. The project will radically improve spectator experiences, while increasing spaces for practice, along with a new varsity baseball field, and additional spaces for football, lacrosse, and soccer games.

Despite the significant financial support of Salesianum, the Wilmington school is not the only one to bear the Fusco name.

The developer has donated at least $4 million to the Delaware Military Academy over the years to construct a football and basketball stadium just outside of Wilmington. Both now bear the Fusco name.

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