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$2.1 Million was Raised at Chicago Auto Show Charity Event

Eighteen area charities tonight shared in more than $2 million raised by the 2012 Chicago Auto Show’s benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and two attendees left with the keys to new Cadillacs.

The black-tie benefit, which is held the evening before the auto show opens its 10-day public run, raised $2,128,601, boosting its total to more than $34 million over 21 years.

"First Look for Charity is a great instrument for the area’s new-car dealers to show the positive impact they have on their community," said Steve Foley Jr., chairman of this year’s auto show. "All the benefiting charities are involved locally, so the money that’s raised in Chicago stays in Chicago."

As the name of the event implies, those who attend First Look for Charity are part of the premier viewing of each year’s Chicago Auto Show. Tickets to the fund-raiser are $250 each, and purchasers can elect to have their proceeds equally benefit all participating charities, or any one charity for which they have an affinity. For the event, the auto show floor is replete with a variety of food and beverage stations.

A highlight of the evening was the drawing for the event’s grand prizes, a 2012 Cadillac Escalade valued at $64,377, and a $42,383 2012 Cadillac SRX. Wheeling’s Jill Nelson won the former and Richard Onik of Homer Glen won the latter.

For Onik, winning the gala prize came on his 60th birthday. "My kids know I’m interested in cars and they wanted to do something special for me. Even before I won, it was a special night."

One day after winning, Nelson’s excitement remained. "I’m on Cloud Nine!" she exclaimed. "I’ve been Facebooking all day, all night. I’m sure the cleaning crew had a field day wiping my drool off" the prize Escalade.

The proceeds of Nelson’s ticket purchase benefited The 100 Club of Chicago; Onik’s purchase was designated to benefit all the 18 nonprofits. Other organizations involved in the 2012 First Look for Charity included Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago; and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet.

Also, Children’s Memorial Hospital; Clearbrook; The Cradle Foundation; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Franciscan Community Benefit Services; Franciscan St. James Health; the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities; and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

And, March of Dimes, Misericordia Heart of Mercy; Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Special Olympics Illinois; Spina Bifida Association of Illinois; and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.

The SRX and Escalade were provided compliments of Your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Cadillac Dealers.

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