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January 29, 2020

WooSox launch foundation with $65K in donations

A man in a suit at a podium speaking into a microphone Photo | Thomas Grillo Worcester Red Sox Chairman Larry Lucchino has passed away at age 78, according to reporting by the Boston Globe.

The Worcester Red Sox came to the city bearing gifts on Tuesday as club Chairman Larry Lucchino donated a pair of oversized checks totalling $65,000 to launch the WooSox Foundation.

As promised in its community benefits agreement between the city, the Worcester Community Labor Coalition, and the team, the WooSox Foundation promises to benefit the region’s residents and charities.

“Let’s take this foundation, small as it is at the outset, and grow it because the causes are worthy, the charitable partners are numerous, and the civic experiences over time is enhanced for the beneficiary of and source for the development of community spirit,” Lucchino said before a crowd at the Worcester Public Library.  

Following the presentation, WooSox President Charles Steinberg told the WBJ that it’s unclear how much the foundation will raise and where the money will come from.

Photo | SHNS
Worcester Red Sox President Charles Steinberg

The foundation’s first donations included $25,000 to the library.

Last fall, construction began on the library's $13-million renovation and expansion to add 8,000 square feet of space to the 147,000-square-foot library. When completed later this year, there will be a new entrance off of Franklin Street facing Worcester Common, enclosure of the portico along Salem Street, and a new children’s room on the third floor. The last renovation of the 60-year-old building was completed in 2001.

In addition, the team contributed dozens of baseball books for the library's new Baseball Book Nook. Among the titles include biographies of Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Cuban native and Southborough resident Luis Tiant, “Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry,”and “Fenway Fanatics,” among others.    

The second donation was $40,000 to Worcester Public Schools for creation of WooSox Scholars. It will provide college scholarships annually for four middle school children. The first recipients will be the Class of 2021. Each will receive $10,000.

“We are eager to hit the ground running,” said Lucchino, who was flanked by a pair of bookcases holding the donated books. “This will have a beneficiary result for the selected students."

In addition, Luccino said the WooSox will host “Worcester School Days” at least the first five years, when every K-12 Worcester student, more than 24,000 children, receive a ticket to a ballgame at Polar Park after it opens in April 2021.

The WooSox Foundation will also operate a variety of programs to benefit students at each grade level, from WooSox Mentors for elementary school students to Dream Careers presentations for high schoolers. The foundation will also present stipends to teachers in a new MVT program for Worcester’s most valuable teachers.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito praised the team’s efforts to partner in improving Worcester.

“Just when you think it can’t get any better with the Woo Sox being a part of this community, it gets better,” Polito said. “Polar Park will be more than ballpark. It’s about the connections many will have coming to the Canal District from not only from Worcester but from other places to share this experience.”

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