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CATA Chairman's Column, September 2017

September 22, 2017
An update from CATA Chairman Ray Scarpelli Jr. 
As dealers, most of us are acutely aware of the vital role we play within our communities, whether that’s through employment, service or charitable support. We’re often among the first to raise a hand to help a neighbor in need, in part because we know it’s mutually beneficial for the long-term success of our communities. 
However, dealers seldom receive the recognition they deserve for their efforts. The CATA offers a variety of programs that build upon the charitable efforts of its dealer members and help raise awareness.
The CATA created Chicagoland Dealers Care in 2008 to highlight dealers’ contributions to charities and match their donation, up to $1,500 per charity. Since the program’s inception, the CATA has donated $100,000 to charities brought forth by dealers. 
In 2013, the CATA partnered with the USO of Illinois on an initiative named Barbecue for the Troops. The program continues to grow each year in terms of dealership events (there were 100 in 2017!) and funds raised. Since the start of the program, dealerships have raised nearly $600,000 for local troops. 
Throughout the summer-long campaign, the CATA coordinates a market-wide advertising, public relations and social media initiative in an effort to secure positive publicity for the dealers.
Additionally, since 1992, the association has raised nearly $48 million for significant Chicago-area charities during the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event, held the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public. 
The CATA also supports ancillary causes; for example, the association made a donation to help Illinois flood victims this past spring and gave $30,000 to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 
No good deed is too small. If your dealership is giving back to a local charity or cause in some way, whether it’s an investment of finances or time, let the CATA know. Your charity may qualify for a match donation through the association’s Chicagoland Dealers Care program. 
Please also consider hosting a Barbecue for the Troops at your dealership next July. Reach out to Jennifer Morand, the CATA’s Director of PR and Social Media, with questions or to learn more: (630) 424-6084 or
I have a few extra tips for the CATA’s more than 400 dealer members to get the word out about all the good that they do for local charities: Leverage ad agency and media advertising partnerships, purchase social media advertising and contact your local chamber of commerce to set up employee meetings to rally support for your charity. It’s important to get the word out that your dealership is one of the pillars of your community!
Ray Scarpelli Jr.