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CATA expands charitable help with new care-giving program

November 16, 2010

Stereotypes can be difficult to overcome. The tired notion that car dealers are tight-fisted is one the CATA consistently fights to reverse.

Most dealers are a benevolent lot, donating both money and time to causes that help their communities. And the unjust image of uncharitable car dealers is about to get another repudiation in the form of Chicagoland Dealers Care, a new program by the CATA to help dealers support local causes.

Chicagoland Dealers Care will provide up to $5,000 in matching grants for a dealer’s contributions to local charities. See the flyer in this newsletter for full details.

Grant requests can be for a variety of causes: academic programs, cultural arts, performing arts, medical research, and even humanitarian needs.

Dealers won’t be solicited to sustain the operating budget for Chicagoland Dealers Care. Instead, the program will be funded by the CATA.

Chicagoland Dealers Care operates under the First Look for Charity Foundation, which has raised more than $26 million for Chicago area charities since the Chicago Auto Show’s black-tie event began in 1992. The event this month raised $2.8 million. In its 17 years, the event has raised a record sum every year.

"First Look for Charity is a night for the CATA and its new-car dealer members to shine. It is a night in which we can all take pride," said CATA Chairman Mark Scarpelli. "If there is one weakness of the event, it’s that it lasts only one night.

"We want to extend some of that luster throughout the year."

The CATA also is embarking on a partnership with NBC5 Chicago to spotlight the positive things that new-car dealers do regularly in their communities.

Some examples will be developed into 15-second spots that will be broadcast on NBC5, and all will be trumpeted on the CATA’s weekly radio show, "Drive Chicago," 8 a.m. Saturdays on WLS 890 AM; and on the association’s Web site,

To discuss that program, contact the CATA’s Dave Sloan at 630-424-6055 or