Hinsdale woman right at home in outreach effort

Last Friday was shaping up to be a big day for the Fussaro family.

"We're actually getting a puppy today," mom Tracy Fussaro revealed during a conversation with The Hinsdalean that morning. "We're getting a chocolate Lab puppy.

"Let's add to the craziness!" she added with a smile, speculating as to the level of house dog-proofing required.

With her flexible schedule as a real estate agent and her husband Tom working from home, she envisions lots of neighborhood walks with 8-year-old son Thomas.

"We're all home, so we figured it's a good time (to get a dog)," Fussaro said.

A Lyons Township alum, Hinsdale was where her aunt and uncle lived but enemy territory otherwise. She recognized the village's virtues when she and Tom were looking to put down roots.

"I think people are generous. However you want to give back, there are so many opportunities."

Fussaro found her philanthropic outlet through the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago Hinsdale Auxiliary, which she was led to by a friend. The group's support of the Angel Harvey Family Health Center in the city has shown her the power of outreach to impact under-resourced people.

"A patient can go (to the health center) and have everything done from dental to optometry to pediatrics to mental health service."

The need is considerable, and the motivation behind this year's virtual Tablescapes benefit March 14-21 (read more on Page 20). Fussaro is co-chair of the event, with fellow Hinsdalean Natalya Lisa Amond. She was last year, too, when it was canceled less than two weeks before it was scheduled due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

After a series of postponements, organizers decided to go the online route and let supporters experience it from home.

"There's been a lot of getting creative and finding a creative way to still host our event," she said. "We want to get our guests excited about it, raise money and have fun doing it."

As a youth, Fussaro was a regular presence at her father's Western Springs business The Competitive Foot, the first store dedicated to athletic shoes in the state. Although it has been closed for a decade, memories of the shop still run through her mind.

"It was in our (family's) life for 40 years," she said.

Outfitted with a bachelor's degree in architectural studies, Fussaro took a job in sales with a window distributorship in Washington D.C.

"I worked with architects and builders - loved it," she said.

Fussaro also fell in love there and, with Tom, ultimately found her way back to the Midwest. She enjoys leveraging her design skills in her current career.

"There's a such a nice mix of really cool new homes and old homes with a lot of charm here," she said of the area.

Seeing people's generosity over the last year has been another charming feature.

"That has been a really bright spot in a really dark time. People still want to give back."

- story by Ken Knutson,

photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean