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Chicago Automobile Trade Association Donates $1,500 to Student Excellence Foundation to Assist Wheaton-Warrenville Students



Chicagoland’s new-car dealer association, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), donated $1,500 to the Student Excellence Foundation. The CATA created the Chicagoland Dealers Care program in 2008 to build upon the charitable efforts of CATA’s dealer members within their communities. Cadillac of Naperville most recently applied to the program after having donated to the Student Excellence Foundation.

The Student Excellence Foundation is an all-volunteer organization that raises funds for innovative programs and new materials to enhance educational opportunities for Wheaton-Warrenville students not otherwise covered by state funding.

“Unfortunately, many educational programs and opportunities have been cut from school budgets due to lack of reliable funding and capped local revenues,” said Student Excellence Foundation Volunteer Barb Marquardt. “The Student Excellence Foundation helps to enrich the classroom environment for both teachers and students with the awarding of grants and funding of programs that might not otherwise be possible. A large percentage of the donations to the Student Excellence Foundation come from the community and local businesses, such as Cadillac of Naperville.”

Cadillac of Naperville recently forged a relationship with the charity, but has plans of continuing its support – not just through monetary donations, but also donating time. The Student Excellence Foundation offered a mentorship opportunity to Frank Laskaris, president of Cadillac of Naperville. Laskaris, who was born to immigrant parents and started his auto industry career with a borrowed shirt and tie for a job interview at age 18, is a product of the Chicago Public School system. He jumped at the opportunity to work with ambitious students and share real-life business and career experiences.  

“Real life and real work with no excuses, that’s my life story,” said Laskaris. “This type of learning can’t be taught in a textbook. I am both honored and humbled to have traveled my path and be in a position to support the Student Excellence Foundation.”

The CATA has been a longtime supporter of local non-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2008, the Chicagoland Dealers Care program has donated more than $100,000 to local charitable organizations supported by new-car dealers. Additionally, since 1992, the association has raised nearly $48 million for significant Chicago-area charities during the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event, held the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public.

For more details on the Chicagoland Dealers Care program, please visit For more information on the Student Excellence Foundation, visit

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