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Auto show gala expected to raise $2 million for 16 area charities

November 22, 2010
Sixteen Chicago area charities will benefit from more than $2 million expected to be raised by a black-tie gala held on the eve of the 2004 Chicago Auto Show in February. See the pamphlet accompanying this newsletter for details and a form to order tickets. The coming "First Look" event, on Feb. 5, gives benefactors the chance to see nearly 1,000 new vehicles on display amid an elegance not present when more than 1 million people converge on McCormick Place during the auto show's 10-day consumer run, Feb. 6-15. Benefactors also have the chance to win one of two 2004 premium vehicles: an Acura TL or a Lexus SC 430. About 10,000 attendees at the charity gala will be treated to hors d'oeuvres; champagne, wine, beer and soft drinks; and special entertainment presented by the automakers in their displays. The public phase of the auto show attracts huge crowds each day. First Look for Charity has become one of the special events on the winter schedules of Chicago socialites and car buffs. "The Chicago Auto Show is uniformly regarded as the finest auto show in the country, but the charitable cause demonstrates that this auto show is about more than just vehicles and accessories," said Mike McGrath, chairman of the 2004 show. "It's also about giving something to the charities of our community." The 16 organizations participating in this year's First Look for Charity predominantly are children-oriented. Some operate on a global level; others, locally. The charities receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the event, and all those proceeds are used in their efforts in the Chicago area, McGrath said. Charities involved in the 13th annual First Look for Charity are: Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Campagna Academy, Children's Memorial Hospital, Clearbrook, The Cradle, and the Cure Autism Now Foundation. Also, the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Assosication, Little City Foundation, March of Dimes Birth Defects Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities, MisericordiaHeart of Mercy, and the NationalMultiple Sclerosis Society. Tickets to the event are $175 each and can be ordered by calling 630-424- 1636. Benefactors should indicate which charity or charities they want their donation to benefit. Of each ticket, $146 is tax-deductible as a charitable expense. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White serves as honorary chairman of the event. "It's a wonderful event that raises a lot of money for worthwhile causes and gives people an premiere look at the best auto show in the nation," White said. Auto show chairman McGrath said the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces First Look for Charity and the Chicago Auto Show, selected the 16 organizations in recognition of their beneficial community efforts.