Chicago Automobile Trade Association

CATA gives to foundation helping Wheaton-Warrenville students

February 23, 2018
Chicagoland Dealers Care, a charitable arm of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, on Jan. 22 donated $1,500 to the Student Excellence Foundation for Wheaton-Warrenville District 200.
The CATA created the Chicagoland Dealers Care program in 2008 to build upon the charitable efforts of the association’s dealer members within their communities. Cadillac of Naperville recently applied to the program after having donated to the student foundation. 
The Student Excellence Foundation is an all-volunteer organization that raises funds for innovative programs and new materials to enhance educational opportunities for District 200 students not otherwise covered by state funding.
"Unfortunately, many educational programs and opportunities have been cut from school budgets due to lack of reliable funding and capped local revenues," said Student Excellence Foundation volunteer Barb Marquardt. "The Foundation helps to enrich the classroom environment for both teachers and students with the awarding of grants and funding of programs that might not otherwise be possible. A large percentage of the donations to the Foundation come from the community and local businesses, such as Cadillac of Naperville." 
The dealership recently forged a relationship with the nonprofit and plans to continue its support — not just through monetary donations, but also by donating time. 
The Student Excellence Foundation offered a mentorship opportunity to Frank Laskaris, president of Cadillac of Naperville. Laskaris, who was born to immigrant parents and started his auto industry career with a borrowed shirt and tie for a job interview at age 18, is a product of the Chicago Public Schools system. He jumped at the opportunity to work with ambitious students and share real-life business and career experiences.   
"Real life and real work with no excuses, that’s my life story," said Laskaris. "This type of learning can’t be taught in a textbook. I am both honored and humbled to have traveled my path and be in a position to support the Student Excellence Foundation." 
The CATA has been a longtime supporter of local nonprofit organizations. Since its inception in 2008, the Chicagoland Dealers Care program has donated more than $100,000 to local charitable organizations supported by new-car dealers. Additionally, since 1992, the association has raised more than $50 million for significant Chicago-area charities through the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event, held the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public. 
For more details on the Chicagoland Dealers Care program, visit For more information on the Student Excellence Foundation, visit


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