Windy City Corvettes wasn’t founded solely on the appreciation for the Chevrolet sportscar.
When the Orland Park-based club first started in 1990, members chose to support the Illinois Spina Bifida Association, while also sharing their appreciation for the cars. Since then, they have raised money by holding annual raffles in support of the foundation, where the prize is a new ’vette. The 2013 raffle held at Bill Kay Chevrolet brought in $50,000 for the association.
“It really is a high when we are able to accomplish what we’ve done year after year,” said Larry Pagliaro, president of Windy City Corvettes. “It’s a win win for everybody.”
The Illinois Spina Bifida Association works to connect families throughout the state with the resources they need to live with the condition. From the ISBA’s website, spina bifida is a birth defect “the failure of the spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy.” It can lead to a portion of the spinal cord protruding through a baby’s back.
“It’s a complicated condition that requires a real team of physicians, as well as social service providers, family and friends, to allow the individual to live to the highest possible quality of life,” said Matt Larsen, executive director of ISBA. “We work to improve the quality of life of individuals and families affected by spina bifida, and connect families with others, so people can network, share resources, really have a group of peers and friends to hang on. It’s important to decrease isolation.”
Larsen said the association is grateful for their partnership with Windy City Corvettes.
“Windy City Corvettes are lovely people who care,” Larsen said. “It’s so remarkable to find people to commit decades of service to those affected with spina bifida. We’re a small organization and that support allows us to plan with confidence for the year ahead. Their support has transformed the organization to make it statewide.”
The feeling is mutual for Windy City Corvettes. The club is part of the Midwest region of the National Council of Corvette Clubs. In addition to social events, the club also supports breast cancer awareness and other efforts.
“We really work well together,” Pagliaro said about the ISBA. “The efforts allow us to give back and share that as well as our interests in the cars.”