CHICAGO (June 6, 2017) - The Illinois Fatherhood Initiative (IFI) will honor Dan Marquardt - Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) board of director and vice president/partner of Marquardt of Barrington - as "Father of the Year" during the IFI's 20th annual Fatherhood Dinner Celebration tomorrow evening.
The country's first statewide nonprofit fatherhood organization, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative has a mission of connecting children and fathers by actively engaging fathers in the education of their children. The initiative was established in 1997 to address the increasing problem of father absence in society.
"I've been advocating for kids and dads for decades," said David Hirsch, founder of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and the 21st Century Dads Foundation. "As a result, I've met thousands of dads. Dan Marquardt exemplifies the best of the best."
"When David called me with the news, I was nearly speechless. It is an incredibly humbling honor to receive such recognition," said Marquardt.
As a dealership, Marquardt of Barrington Buick GMC has supported the IFI in a variety of ways for more than a decade, such as donating vehicles for fundraising raffles. Dan Marquardt, a father to nine children, also offers his personal time volunteering for the organization. One of his previous contributions involved reading through thousands of essays submitted to the IFI by Chicagoland students.
According to the IFI, research indicates that 24 million children - 1.1 million in Illinois - are growing up in homes without fathers. Furthermore, children from fatherless homes are four times more likely to grow up in poverty and nine times more likely to drop out of high school. These children are also more likely to commit suicide, run away, have behavioral disorders, abuse drugs and alcohol, commit crimes and end up in prison, according to the IFI.
Marquardt believes good parenting skills, along with personal convictions, also translate to the workplace.
"There are a lot of parallels between being a father and an employer," said Marquardt. "We often look at our [Marquardt of Barrington Buick GMC] staff as one big family, and I strive to provide them encouragement along with clear expectations to ensure success."
For more information on the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, please visit www.4fathers.org. To learn more about the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, visit www.cata.info.