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New CATA charitable arm reaches out to special rec, shelter groups

November 16, 2010

Chicagoland Dealers Care, a new benevolent entity of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, this month bestowed its first donations to two area nonprofit groups.

The Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), based in Northbrook; and DuPage PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), located in Wheaton, each were awarded $5,000 checks. Mark Scarpelli, CATA chairman, represented the dealer association for the awards.

Chicagoland Dealers Care was launched this year to highlight the community activism of CATA dealers. Full details are at

The campaign 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 even humanitarian needs.

In one presentation, Scarpelli joined Jim Jennings of Jennings Chevrolet in Glenview to benefit the NSSRA. The association provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children and adults in the northern suburbs with disabilities.

The NSSRA is an intergovernmental partnership of 10 park districts—Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka—the city of Highwood and the village of Riverwoods.

My wife and I," said Jennings, "have been deeply involved in the NSSRA for years. Like many others, our son has been a beneficiary of their terrific programs.

"When we heard about the Chicagoland Dealers Care matching funds program, it was a natural for us to ask for their support. And we got it."


Helping the homeless

In DuPage County, where the perception is of luxury and abundance, the reality of homelessness is very real. The PADS program provides interim housing to help stabilize the lives of those whose lives are in crisis. Their mission is to provide housing and the support systems needed to get lives back on track.

Joel Weinberger, owner of Continental Audi in Naperville, became involved with the PADS program because of the generosity of others he knew.

"It was really quite amazing," said Weinberger. "My employees pitched in to give me a Christmas gift years ago, and I decided to honor their generosity by contributing the gift to a worthwhile organization.

"After a good search of many great groups, it was the PADS program that really excited me. I matched their gift and soon found out at PADS functions that many of the people I knew were already involved.

"It was a wonderful dynamic that has grown year after year. Chicagoland Dealers Care helps extend those dollars even further, and I find that exciting."

Scarpelli and Weinberger presented the $5,000 check to Carol Simler, executive director of PADS.

Scarpelli said: "Dealers are so deeply involved in the communities in which they do business. It’s gratifying that the CATA has established this program to assist those dealers in extending the good they have done with little or no recognition.


"In times like this, every dollar counte. Every CATA member can be proud of this new initiative."