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Chicago Auto Show Charity Benefit Raises $1.8 Million

CHICAGO (Feb. 12)-Eighteen area charities tonight shared in more than $1.8 million raised by the 2009 Chicago Auto Show's benevolent event, First Look for Charity, and two attendees left with the keys to new vehicles.

About 8,000 people attended First Look for Charity, helping to raise $1,856,025. 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 Mark Scarpelli, 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 two grand prize vehicles: a 2009 Kia Borrego and a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. This year's event awarded the Borrego to John Almy, 23, of Long Grove; and the Camaro to Bosun Kim, 27, of Des Plaines.

Both winners cited their new cars as the first prizes they've ever won. Proceeds of Almy's ticket benefited The Cradle Foundation, and the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities reaped the proceeds from Kim's ticket. In all, 18 charities profited from the event.

Other organizations participating in the 2009 First Look for Charity include Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, Autism Speaks, Boys and 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; Children's Memorial Hospital, Clearbrook, Evans Scholars Foundation, and Franciscan Community Benefit Services.

And, Misericordia, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Spina Bifida Association of Illinois, and St. Coletta's of Illinois Foundation.