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Auto Show Gala Expected to Raise $2 Million for Area Charities


Contact: Mark Bilek
Senior Director of Communications and Technology
Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Office: (630) 424-6082
Cell: (847) 652-0632

Contact: Jennifer Morand
Director of Public Relations and Social Media
Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Office: (630) 424-6084
Cell: (630) 391-1986



CHICAGO (Jan. 14, 2016) – Eighteen Chicago area charities will benefit from more than $2.5 million expected to be raised by a black-tie gala held in conjunction with the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Now in its 25th year, First Look for Charity is held the evening before the auto show opens to the public.

The coming "First Look" event, on Feb. 12, gives benefactors the chance to see hundreds of new vehicles on display amid an elegance not present when crowds converge on McCormick Place during the auto show's nine-day consumer run, Feb. 13-21. First Look for Charity has become one of the special events on the winter schedules of Chicago socialites and car buffs. About 10,000 attendees at the charity gala will be treated to hors d'oeuvres; champagne, wine, beer and soft drinks; and special entertainment presented by the automakers in their displays.
Complementing the culinary efforts of Savor, McCormick Place's in-house caterer, are a host of notable Chicago restaurants, including Adobo Grill, Frontier, Joe's Seafood Chicago, Miss Ricky's, New England Seafood Co., Porkchop, Real Urban Barbecue, Shen Yun, Texas de Brazil, Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar, and ZED451.
Spirits will be poured by Brown-Forman, Ménage à Trois Vodka, Sugar Island Rum, Tres Agaves Tequila, and Trinchero Family Estates. Benefactors in attendance also have the chance to win a 2016 Lincoln Black Label MKX or a 2016 Jeep Renegade.
"The Chicago Auto Show is uniformly regarded as the finest auto show in the country, but the charitable cause demonstrates that this auto show is about more than just vehicles and accessories," said Colin Wickstrom, chairman of the 2016 show. "It's also about giving something to the charities of our community."
The 18 organizations participating in this year's First Look for Charity predominantly are children-oriented. Some operate on a global level; others, locally. This year's roster includes 100 Club of Chicago, Advocate Health Care, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet.
Also, Clearbrook, The Cradle, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, Franciscan St. James Health, the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, the Illinois Spina Bifida Association, and JDRF.
And, Lurie Children's Hospital, March of Dimes, Misericordia, Special Olympics Illinois, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.
Tickets to the event are $250 each and can be ordered at Attendees can direct the proceeds of their purchase to any or all of the benefiting charities. Of each ticket, $203 is tax-deductible as a charitable expense.

The show's 2016 media preview will be Feb. 11 through Feb. 12, and the show's black-tie benevolent event, First Look for Charity, will be Feb. 12, 7 - 11 p.m.  Please visit or for more information.


About the Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show on the continent, spanning more than 1 million square feet of production, concept, and exotic vehicle exhibit space. In addition to hosting multiple world and North America vehicle debuts, the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity raises more than $2 million annually for 18 vital Chicago organizations in a single night. The 2016 public show will be February 13-21. For more information, visit or

About The Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Founded in 1904, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is the nation's oldest and largest metropolitan dealer organization. It is comprised of more than 400 franchised new-car dealers and an additional 150 allied members. The group's dealer members employ about 19,000 people in the metropolitan area. The association has produced the world famous Chicago Auto Show since 1935. For more information please visit

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