Faith and family are at the center of life for the Buccinis.
Chris Buccini said he and his brother, Rob, do not need to look beyond his parents, D. Robert and Bernadette, for evidence of where these principles originated.
“It’s something we’re honored to be part of,” Chris said.
“My parents come from Italian immigrant families. The church and faith has played such a huge role in their lives and who they are today. That has been passed along to my brother and me – the importance of faith and the Catholic church. And it is something that we are instilling in our children now in this third generation. Because of that, Catholic Charities has always been very meaningful to us.”
The Buccini Family — D. Robert, Bernadette, Rob and Chris — will receive the Msgr. Thomas J. Reese Award at Catholic Charities Annual Tribute Dinner on Wednesday, April 11.
Bishop Malooly will present the award at the dinner to be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. The award was created in 1989 in memory of Msgr. Reese, community activist and longtime director of Catholic Social Services, the forerunner of Catholic Charities, and recognizes exemplary individuals who have demonstrated a deep commitment to promoting and restoring the well-being of people – Catholic Charities’ mission.
“The Catholic church and Catholic Charities throughout history has always played a huge, huge part in humanitarian work,” Chris Buccini said. “They really get to the heart of the issues that we’re faced with.”
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington is a faith-based, social services organization delivering critical, direct care human services to more than 100,000 people in Delaware and the nine counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, regardless of their religion, race, or ability to pay.
“The Buccinis, without question, model Monsignor Reese’s commitment to the most vulnerable,” said Richelle A. Vible, executive director of Catholic Charities.
Bernadette De Seta Buccini and her husband, D. Robert, have together led the family business, the Edward J. De Seta Company Inc., since 1967. The business has grown into one of the largest heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors and engineering firms in the mid-Atlantic. They are past members of the board of directors for the Ministry of Caring, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Padua Academy, Grand Opera House, St. Francis Hospital and numerous other philanthropic efforts.
The family is positioned to continue its efforts with sons Rob and Chris and daughters-in-law, Beth and Mati. Rob and Chris’s real estate investment and development company, The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc., owns places in Wilmington such as the Hotel DuPont, former DuPont world headquarters buildings, WSFS Bank Center, I.M. Pei Building, and Queen Theater; and is a leader in redeveloping the Wilmington Riverfront with its Christina Landing, Justison Landing, Penn Cinema and Imax, and Westin Hotel projects.
“As a family, we have made our biggest commitment to the revitalization to the city of Wilmington with the belief that it has to bring everyone up,” Chris said. “We’ve really focused on the economic development and safety side of it, and helping to create jobs and making it an attractive place for employers to hire people, for people to have fun, live and be safe.
“But we also believe in the strength of the neighborhoods in this city and the people that live in them. It’s really through the good work of Catholic Charities that you can really help those people.”
“The importance of giving back has really been paramount in our family. We’ve manifested that through our philanthropy but also through the work we do as a business. We’ve worked on revitalizing distressed areas rather than moving into more affluent areas and building there.”
Being recognized by Catholic Charities stands out among family achievements, Chris said.
“No. 1 is being recognized within the Catholic community and having Catholic Charities in particular honor our family, on top of that to be receiving this award cuts to the heart of — as a family, over our lives – what has mattered most.”
“My parents are incredibly humble people … this is way outside of their comfort zone.”
“Our family just has an immense amount of pride for our state, our city, for the Catholic community here in Delaware. And I think Catholic Charities really brings together everything that we’ve worked hard on in our careers and our lives. It is just a massive honor even to be considered for this award.”