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CATA's Chicagoland Dealers Care identifies more funding recipients

November 17, 2010

Chicagoland Dealers Care, the new benevolent entity of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, has bestowed $5,000 donations to two more area nonprofit groups.


The campaign, which began dispensing funds this spring, provides up to $5,000 in matching grants for a dealer’s contributions to local charities. Grant requests can be for a variety of causes: academic programs, cultural arts, performing arts, medical research, and more.


The Jeffrey Pride Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research and Operation Support Our Troops-Illinois, Inc. are the latest beneficiaries. The former was nominated for funding by Emir Abinion, president of Fox Valley Volkswagen in West Chicago. The latter was nominated by George Honiotes, who operates Saturn of Naperville.


Jeffrey Pride cancer

Abinion has supported the Jeffrey Pride Foundation for Pediatric Research since a neighbor invited him to a fund-raiser golf outing for the foundation eight years ago.


Since then, Abinion has donated time, money, vehicles and sponsorships to help the foundation raise funds to bring experimental drugs to market for children cancer patients.


Several years after he began supporting the Jeffrey Pride Foundation, Abinion said his nephew was stricken with the same form of cancer to which Jeffrey Pride succumbed at age 7. Abinion’s nephew, now 17, is cancer-free.


"One in 300 kids is diagnosed with pediatric cancer before they turn 17," Abinion said. "Chicagoland Dealers Care is a great idea to utilize some of our (association) funds. A lot of dealers are embedded in their communities and support worthy causes."


Troop support

Deborah Rickert, president of Support our Troops-Illinois, Inc., said the organization is incorporated in Illinois, but it benefits U.S. soldiers from all states with packages of items that are not readily available to the troops in their deployed locations. The packages also include personal letters, cards and notes of support from the community at large.


Rickerts said her group in 2007 shipped 6,000 packages, which weigh 25 pounds apiece. The postage alone for those shipments cost $120,000.


The group in July hosted its third annual Rockin’ for the Troops event, which doubles as a fund-raiser and a day for awareness of the troops and the sacrifices made by them and their families. Rickert said last month’s event still is being reconciled, but the 2007 edition raised $270,000.


Operation Support our Troops-Illinois, Inc. hired its first paid employee in May. All previous efforts were handled by up to 300 volunteers, who in 2007 logged 10,000 hours.


CATA Chairman John Phelan, who presented the donations to the two groups, points to the effort as a way extend the good that area dealers do with little or no recognition.


"In times like this," said Phelan, "every dollar counts. Every CATA dealer can be proud of this new initiative."