Phone: 630-495-2282 Fax: 630-495-2260 Map/Directions

Chicagoland Dealers Care matches dealers' support of area nonprofits

October 20, 2017
The CATA’s Chicagoland Dealers Care program this month matched two dealerships’ cash donations of more than $2,100 to area nonprofits. The check presentations to the Joliet Salvation Army and to Plant with Purpose followed a $1,500 donation to the former by the Thomas Auto Group, and a $643 donation by Continental Toyota to the latter.
"The CATA applauds Continental Toyota and the Thomas Auto Group for their support of area nonprofits," said CATA Chairman Ray Scarpelli Jr. "These are perfect examples of the vital role that dealers play to help those in need — not only within local communities, but people across the globe as well." 
The CATA created Chicagoland Dealers Care in 2008 to build upon the charitable efforts of the association’s dealer members. The CATA has been a longtime supporter of local nonprofits. Since its inception, the program has donated nearly $100,000 to local charitable organizations supported by new-car dealers.
"As a well-established community dealership — we just celebrated Thomas Auto Group’s 25th anniversary — we feel as though it’s our obligation to help neighbors in need," said Denise Thomas, community relations manager for the dealer group. "We’ve partnered with the Joliet-based Salvation Army since 2010 because it’s aligned with our mission of helping people within our community, including providing nourishing food, clothing and shelter to hungry and homeless families." 
Not only does Thomas Auto Group, which is based in Joliet, support the Salvation Army, but dealership employees are also actively involved. Employees across various departments — including sales, service or finance — donate a portion of their paychecks directly to the organization. They also volunteer their time at Salvation Army’s after-school tutoring programs or music classes. 
"We’re so thankful to have this incredible support from the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Thomas Auto Group," said Dan Faundez, pastor/corps officer at the Salvation Army in Joliet. "Contributions such as this help us to continue to serve the people of Joliet." 
Plant with Purpose has a very specific, effective process for helping poverty-stricken rural families in Third World countries. Dave Mahar, Plant with Purpose regional representative, said the agency uses a three-step approach.
"First and foremost, we help families by restoring the environment where these people reside. We not only assist with the process, but we give inhabitants the tools they need to succeed – even after we’ve departed. Ninety-three percent of farming families with whom we work are able to bring their crops to market to bring in revenue. 
"Second, there’s an economic focus. We request that each family financially contributes an equal amount to a community fund that’s only to be used for natural disasters. Should an unexpected weather event occur, such as a hurricane or earthquake, the families can pull resources from this emergency fund to assist with restoration of the land. Finally, we work with families to restore faith and enhance and strengthen relationships within the family unit."
"There’s a huge difference in method in that we don’t just put a Band-Aid on something; Plant with Purpose is grounded in strategy to build a sustainable system for success," Mahar continued. "We’re so thankful for the support of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Continental Toyota to help us with our mission."
Cheryl Nelson, the principal of Continental Toyota, said: "While Continental Motors Group supports many local charities, it’s an incredible feeling to also be able to lend support to people across the globe with Plant with Purpose. Last summer, we actually turned the entire showroom over to support Plant with Purpose with a campaign that lasted throughout the month of July. 
"For every purchase made in July, whether it was a car or a tire, Continental Toyota pledged to donate $1 to Plant with Purpose. The customers loved it too and they felt as though they were helping to make an impact."
Plant with Purpose estimated they’ve helped about 30,000 families in locations across the globe such as Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania and Thailand. The organization’s next target mission is Ethiopia.
In addition to the Chicagoland Dealers Care program, the association since 1992 has raised nearly $48 million for area nonprofits through the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event.