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Amanda Belo is a communications professional living in Chicago by way of North Carolina (GO HEELS!). Her heart will always belong to the East Coast. In addition to being passionate about the arts, culture, travel, food, and social good, Amanda has always loved to write and tell compelling stories. Amanda finds something new about Chicago every day and she cannot wait to explore more about the city and Chicagoans as a writer for Miss A. She earned her bachelor's degree in dance, with a minor in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her master's degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University.

Recap: Chicago Auto Show’s First Look For Charity For 18 Chicago Nonprofits


(Photo courtesy of Chicago Auto Show)

The Chicago Auto Show‘s First Look for Charity returned this year at McCormick Place to raise money for 18 Chicago charities. Since 1992, the black-tie affair has raised close to $40 million while providing attendees the chance to experience the auto show the evening before it opens to the public.

“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 John Webb, 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.”

Among those 18 charities represented that evening was Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The organization hosted an event in their suite prior to the First Look event that began at 5:30 p.m. Nearly 400 people attended, including NBC 5 Chicago Anchor Lauren Petty and Jordan Cornette, former Notre Dame basketball star to celebrate the initiatives of Catholic Charities as well as learn more about the programming. The money raised during this event and the main First Look event went to benefit maternity and adoption services.

Co-chair Marty Bredemann with wife Katie Bredemann, Doug Stoltz and Lauren Petty Stoltz of NBC5 Chicago at Catholic Charities of Chicago's suite event. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago)

Co-chair Marty Bredemann with wife Katie Bredemann, Doug Stoltz and Lauren Petty Stoltz of NBC5 Chicago at Catholic Charities of Chicago’s suite event. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago)

Vice President of Family and Parish Support Services Peggy Arizzi said, “Catholic Charities is such a large agency, so it’s nice to have a focus on adoption and maternity. So many people who come to this event have been impacted by the program through their families.”

The Director of Maternity and Adoption Services, Noreen Chesebro was also on-hand to speak about the program’s functions and where major needs lie for operations. She said that one of the things Catholic Charities is continuously trying to do is to reach mothers and expectant parents who are making decisions about how they can best plan for their child’s future. Further, they seek to support them “during a time where life has brought new challenges for them.”

“We like to walk with them and be there,” said Chesebro. “I think one of the biggest needs for them that we see –sometimes that we are not always able to provide – is housing. But from the standpoint of services, we continue to need baby care items after the child leaves the hospital so that parents can fulfill those basic needs.”

Chesebro added that Catholic Charities feels strongly about the necessity of children being in loving homes, and they do everything they can to make that possible. The suite event for Chesebro is a way to bring a community of “caring people together who want to be a part of and help in the mission of Catholic Charities.” Additionally, it serves as a learning opportunity to understand how the organization is involved in “making a difference in individual’s lives at a time of need.”

First Look for Charity 2015 raised $2,510,714, one of the more prosperous tallies for the 24-year-old black-tie fundraiser. About 9,500 people were in attendance. First Look for Charity and the Chicago Auto Show are presented by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. Benefiting organizations this year also included: 100 Club of ChicagoAdvocate Sherman HospitalBoys & Girls Clubs of ChicagoCatholic Charities of the Diocese of JolietClearbrookThe Cradle FoundationFranciscan Community Benefit ServicesFranciscan St. James HealthRay Graham Association for People with DisabilitiesIllinois Spina Bifida AssociationJDRFAnn & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of ChicagoMarch of DimesMisericordiaSpecial Olympics IllinoisTurning Pointe Autism Foundationand  Jesse White Tumbling Team.

To learn more about First Look for Charity visit http://www.chicagoautoshow.com.


Andra Day performing at First Look for Charity 2015 (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


Male volunteer carrying around high heels abandoned by ladies for the popular pink Cadillac slippers (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)



(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show)


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