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Chicago Auto Show charity benefit raises $1.9 million

Eighteen area charities tonight shared in nearly $2 million raised by the 2011 Chicago Auto Show's benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and two attendees left with the keys to new cars.

The black-tie benefit, which is held the evening before the auto show opens its 10-day public run, raised $1,905,060, boosting its total to more than $30 million over 20 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 Kevin Mize, 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 2011 Honda CR-Z and a 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo. Geneva's Keith Egly won the former and Janice Cacciatore of Park Ridge won the latter.

Egly, whose wife is involved with the Misericordia Women's Auxiliary, said he was considering donating the CR-Z to Misericordia Heart of Mercy, one of the event's 18 beneficiaries.  Cacciatore said she was likely to keep her car for her 15-year-old son, who starts driver's education classes in two weeks. Cacciatore and her husband, Tim, directed the proceeds of their ticket purchase to the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, another charity participating in the event.

Other organizations involved in the 2011 First Look for Charity included Autism Speaks; Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago; and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet.

Also, Children's Memorial Hospital; The Cradle Foundation; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Evans Scholars Foundation; Franciscan Community Benefit Services; and March of Dimes.

And, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Special Olympics Illinois; Spina Bifida Association of Illinois; St. Coletta's of Illinois Foundation; St. James Hospital & Health Centers; and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.

The Sonata was compliments of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Hyundai Dealers, and the CR-Z was provided by American Honda Motor Company.
 

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