Glitz aside, Auto Show Charity Preview raises millions for children's charities

Just like the cars, this year's North American International Auto Show Charity Preview is expected to be more electric than ever.

"It is a beautiful reality the fact that we can get together again," said Doug Ferrick, The Children's Foundation. "I think people are hungry for this event because it represents what used to be, before the pandemic - and how we can all come together around a common purpose, which is kids."

It is all about the kids and that's why Ferrick will tell you there is no fundraiser like it. The event goes beyond the mind-blowing car creations, big-name music acts and glitzy ensembles.

Ferrick, who is the chief development officer for the foundation - that is dedicated to the health and wellness of our kids - says the dollars are needed now, more than ever.

"That one night is so special, it cascades throughout the year," he said. "The amount of impact and the millions of dollars raised from the charity preview, the work and the flow and amount of service, would not be as rich as it is now, without those dollars across those charitable entities."

Since it began, the charity preview has raised more than $120 million for children's charities like The Boys and Girls Club, The Children's Center, which focuses on mental health, and the Detroit Police Athletic League.

"It’s a lot of hope - you have the parents and coaches and mentors that come together and they see the best in children and the greatness in every child," said Fred Hunter, the Detroit PAL CEO.

Hunter has been involved with the Detroit Police Athletic League for more than two decades - seeing first-hand how the team sports, academic, and leadership programs have given children a safe place to thrive.

"It’s been great for him, it gives him something to do in the summer," said Jerrica Moss, whose son plays for the Tiny Tigers team in PAL.

"They do more than teach them sports, they teach them to work hard – they teach them determination, how to love themselves, respect themselves and other people," said Karen McLean, whose son plays for the Tiny Tigers.

So when you come to check out the cars at the year's swankiest event, remember how this spectacular night supports good work that supports kids all year long.

"I grew up in Detroit, I appreciate the connection with the auto show and the charities, and making good things happen in Detroit," Hunter said.

"This is our field of dreams right here – this is our field of dreams," McLean said.