Chicago Auto Show’s First Look for Charity


This year marks the 116th edition of the Chicago Auto Show, North America’s longest-running auto exposition. First staged in 1901, the show brings thousands of people together to showcase hundreds of different vehicles including domestic and imported passenger cars, trucks, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and experimental and concept cars from more than two dozen manufacturers.

The show, which ran Feb. 10-19, 2024, kicked off with the annual First Look for Charity, a black-tie gala that raises money for 18 local charities, on Feb. 9. This year, the event donations topped $2.8 million. In the event’s 32-year history, they have now raised $62 million for local charities and nonprofit organizations in the greater Chicago area.

First Look for Charity allows attendees to view the auto show before it opens to the public. Tickets are $325 per person, and each ticketholder can choose to contribute to all charities or specify one beneficiary. The show also highlights local Chicago businesses by featuring gourmet dishes from fan-favorite restaurants, live music, and deluxe drinks.

Chicago Auto Show co-president and general manager Jennifer Morand explained how board members of the Chicago Auto Trade Association each elect a charity to benefit from this event. She said they often choose a group they’ve personally supported for many years.

“They’re behind this effort, and they want to, you know, raise money and raise awareness for organizations that need it the most,” Morand said. “It makes them feel proud that they get to actually, you know, bring them on because First Look for Charity is so impactful for these groups. And sometimes, in a lot of cases, they actually rely on the event to help them raise money that they use for their programs and services throughout the year.” ■