News & Events

Chicago Auto Show charity benefit raises nearly $2.5 million

Eighteen area charities tonight shared in more than $2.4 million raised by the 2008 Chicago Auto Show’s benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and three attendees left with the keys to new vehicles.

About 10,400 people attended First Look for Charity, helping to raise $2,444,810. The event is held the evening before the annual auto show opens its 10-day public run.

“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 Bob Loquercio, 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 $225 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 this year was the drawing for three grand prize vehicles: a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz; a 2008 Scion xD; and a 2009 Toyota Corolla. Tom Morton of Gurnee matched his ticket number for the Veracruz, and Chicagoans Christina Pulawski and Howard Jump won the xD and Corolla, respectively.

Morton said a friend invited him to First Look for Charity, but the friend wasn’t excited about the prize vehicle drawings. Morton recounted: “He said, ‘I never win these things.’ I said, ‘You have a bad attitude; I’m going to win this thing.’ ”

Pulawski said that when the event paused for the prize drawings, she went to the show floor’s perimeter, to take a picture with the new Dodge Challenger. “When I heard the number, I started running in four-inch heels and an evening gown.”

Jump has attended First Look for Charity many times. “Every year, we (in his party) walk to the prize stage area, but we never came within 10,000 numbers of winning.” Jump held No. 14909 this year.

“We heard some numbers called, and my friend’s ticket was 11,000-something. We knew our numbers should be sequential. Then we realized the ticket he held was for last year’s First Look for Charity, and I held this year’s winner.”

Proceeds of Morton’s ticket benefited Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Misericordia Heart of Mercy reaped the proceeds from Jump’s ticket purchase. Pulawski directed her purchase to benefit all 18 participating charities.

Besides Children’s and Misericordia, organizations benefiting from the 2008 First Look for Charity include Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital; Autism Speaks; Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Campagna Academy; Cancer Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago; and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Also, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet; Clearbrook; The Cradle Foundation; Franciscan Community Benefit Services; the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities; Ronald McDonald House Charities; and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

And, the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Spina Bifida Association of Illinois; and St. Coletta’s of Illinois Foundation.

The 2008 Chicago Auto Show runs Feb. 8-17. See for details.

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