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Chicagoland Dealers Care: Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Lombard Toyota Donate $1,000 to Salvation Army’s Ways to Work Program

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) – Chicagoland’s new-car dealer association – matched Lombard Toyota’s contribution of $500 to Salvation Army’s Ways to Work program, donating a total of $1,000 to the cause. The Chicagoland Dealers Care program was created by the CATA to help support member dealers’ charitable community initiatives by providing additional financial support and advocacy to those in need.

“This is a great example of the role in which Chicagoland dealers play in their communities,” said CATA Chairman Mike McGrath Jr. “Often times most do not recognize the integral part car dealers play in lending support to people who need it the most – right in their backyards. Charities know their local dealer is a pillar of their community and, it might come as a surprise to some, but dealers are often the first to be solicited for support – and they’re happy to help their neighbors.”   

The funds will directly support Cook and DuPage county residents who have been accepted into the Salvation Army’s Ways to Work program. Specifically, the Ways to Work program supports parents in need who are trying to buy or refinance a used car by offering low interest loans. The goal of the program is to put these parents – oftentimes single moms or dads – back on their feet as they juggle job demands and raising a child.

The program recipients are offered lower interest loans so they can purchase a car and are required to take financial classes so that when they graduate from the program, they have the necessary skillsets to maintain their credit.

“The Ways to Work program gave me the chance to get a car while building my own credit,” said Pia Easley, a Salvation Army program recipient. “Before being accepted into the program, I had this warped view of what it meant to build your credit but, as a single working mom, this was imperative for me to learn – better late than never.”

Since 2011, the local Ways to Work program has helped 179 people get back on their feet by purchasing a vehicle and building their credit, and the Salvation Army is committed to assisting 40 additional clients in Cook and DuPage counties by 2018. The CATA and Lombard Toyota funds will directly help support these cases.

“The Salvation Army Ways to Work Program is appreciative of our community partners and we’re thankful to Toyota of Lombard and the CATA for their generous donation,” said Stephen Lepse, director, Salvation Army Family & Community Services. 

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association has been a longtime supporter of local non-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2008, the Chicagoland Dealers Care program has donated nearly $95,000 to local charitable organizations supported by new-car dealers. Additionally, since 1992, the association has raised $42 million for significant Chicago charities during the annual First Look for Charity black-tie event, held the evening before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public.


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