31 Days of Giving 2019

Posted by Mary W. on Nov 30th 2019

Cherry Republic is proud to announce the final dash to the finish for our 2019 donations -- Our 31 Days of Giving. Several times a week through the month of December, we will announce our recipients. This year, Cherry Republic has saved $250,000 to give away over the 31 days this month. As we have for decades, we prioritize our giving toward organizations protecting Northern Michigan’s water, land and quality of life. Our 2019 focus will be on Climate Action and Michigan’s move to renewable energy as our warming climate is the largest threat our region has ever faced. Of course, there will be some fun surprises over these days as well. Here’s to our beloved Michigan and all the great people working to make our great state even better!

-- Bob Sutherland

$20,000 to Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. This gift goes to support Groundwork's Renewable Energy Program. For Northern Michigan to transition away from coal, we need energy experts like Dan Worth, Ric Evans, and others working full time—sharing a vision and a plan for solar and wind energy across the north.

$15,000 to the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (MIEIBC). Michigan EIBC’s mission is to grow our state’s advanced energy economy by doing the research and policy writing for the advanced energy industry in Michigan. Cherry Republic is proud to make this first-time gift to this important organization that is paving the political way for renewable energy in Michigan. 

$2,500 to the Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Project. The MCEL is working to develop the next level of young renewable energy leaders in our great state, and we are happy to support them in this worthy endeavor.

$5,000 to Michigan Farm 2 Neighbor. Part of the Northwest Regional Food Coalition, this program buys fruits and vegetables from local farmers and delivers them to 40 food pantries and 24 meal sites in Northern Michigan. Farm 2 Neighbor supports the environment and sustainable agricultural, farmland preservation, economic development and the health outcomes of the low income population that frequents the emergency food system. 

$2,500 each to Michigan Challenge, Pathfinder School and Norte. We asked our customers and neighbors for some worthy organizations to support as part of our 31 Days of Giving, and these three Northern Michigan entities that focus on children received dozens of votes. Michigan Challenge provides Tall Ships sail training to 'Gold Star teens' (children of fallen military heroes), veterans and their families, and grieving youth. Pathfinder School is a private school that focuses on experiential learning, and Norte's mission is "to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart." Congrats to all!

$2,500 to Village Focus International. VFI is an international organization working in Laos to stop human trafficking that was started by a northern Michigander named Rick Reece. 

$2,500 to the Ruth Ellis Center. The Ruth Ellis Center is a Detroit-based organization providing services for homeless, run-away, and at-risk LGBT youths. This donation recognizes the sexual diversity of our Cherry Republic employees and their benefits to our company and community.

$5,000 to This donation supports Bill McKibbon’s organization that has been calling for action on our warming climate longer than anyone.

$5,000 to the Citizens Climate Lobby. The Citizens Climate Lobby is a national organization with a very strong local chapter up here in the north. 

$3,000 each to the Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association and the Empire Area Community Center. The Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association is a wonderful organization that provides educational, charitable, and supportive services to people with dyslexia. We are proud to support them again this year. And the Empire Area Community Center enhances the quality of life of those living in the greater Empire area through the promotion of community activities and involvement. This money goes to their financial emergency fund for neighbors who have fallen on hard times.

$12,000 to four excellent Nature Centers. The Grass River Nature Area in Bellaire, the Leslie Science & Nature Center in Ann Arbor, the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland, and the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee will each receive $3,000.

$5,000 to The Leelanau School. Our annual giving to The Leelanau School, this special neighbor here in Glen Arbor, helps provide exceptional individualized academics with a nature bent to high schoolers from around the world.

$5,000 to Washtenaw Camp Placement. WCP "believes that attending a summer resident camp is a unique life experience that provides children an opportunity for growth in social, emotional and physical well-being." This money goes directly as scholarships to send eligible kids in the Ann Arbor area to camps up north. 

$7,500 to Circle of Blue. I pulled this words from this terrific organization whose motto is Where Water Speaks: "Circle of Blue is the voice for how water supplies affect food, energy, the environment, and human health. And the voice for water in a changing climate. These water challenges, according to the World Economic Forum, remain the world’s #1 risk to health, social stability, and our future."

$5,000 to the Little Traverse Conservancy. We are proud to provide ongoing support for LTC’s farmland programs.

$12,000 to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. This is long term ongoing support for GTRLC’s Farmland Programs -- Farmland Preservation and Misty Acres Farm.

$10,000 to the Leelanau Conservancy. This gift goes to the wonderful organization we’ve given to for 26 years. This year our grant will support two programs -- the Palmer Woods Natural Area and the Leelanau Conservancy's Farmland Protection Program.

The next two days (along with our December 5 grant) show Cherry Republic’s commitment to support Northern Michigan solar projects. We have a vision that every farm in the north is 100% powered by the same source that powers their crops -- the sun. We believe this is a great way to support farmers living independently off Michigan’s land, water and sun. (Please note that in 2020, we expect that there will be more farmers requesting grants than Cherry Republic will be able to fund, so we will be doing some fundraising. Stay tuned!)

$6,000 to 
Providence Organic Farm. The Romeyn family farm is one of the strongest small farms in the north, and their Providence Organic Farm will soon have one of the largest solar installations we’ve been a part of. This solar installation will power the Romeyn's home, farm, processing facility, and farm market. This will be a multi-year gift to the Romeyns. 

$5,000 to Heartwood Forest Farm. It is with great pride that Cherry Republic awards one of our own with a grant for solar panels to power 100% of their electrical needs on their home and farm. Patti Travioli works part time at Cherry Republic answering phones and also works part time growing yummy vegetables and making honey at her family's Heartwood Forest Farm. This past summer Cherry Republic gave gift cards to a farm stand that she set up at in Glen Arbor for our staff! It is impressive with all that the Traviolis do, that they still have time to live and think green.

$7,500 to Buckets of Rain. This was a big vote getter from our customers when we asked them who we should give to this year. Buckets of Rain is not working on climate or renewables directly, but growing nutritious vegetables on raised garden beds on old parking lots for hundreds of needy Detroiters is showing the world how we can feed ourselves with a much smaller carbon footprint.

$7,500 to Michigan Environmental Council. The MEC is the No. 1 watchdog for Michigan’s land and water. MEC policy experts analyze proposed laws and regulations, meet with stakeholders and lawmakers, and advocate for public policy decisions to protect the health of Michigan’s people and natural resources.

$20,000 to the Michigan Climate Action Network. This is one of Cherry Republic’s favorite organizations working to stop global warming. MICAN is headquartered in Traverse City and has played a major role in getting Northern Michigan cities to set 100% renewable goals.

$7,500 to Renewable Energy for Michigan. REM is a partner organization of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA). GLREA primarily educates the public on the benefits of renewable energy, whereas Renewable Energy for Michigan, organized as a 501(c)(4), advocates in support of legislative policies that will help further the expansion of renewable energy in Michigan. Michigan has a half dozen renewable energy bills in legislative committees, and this donation will fund lobbying efforts to get these bills passed.

$2,500 to the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. This donation is directed to fund several of the Horticulture Research Center's winter programs for cherry farmers at the discretion of their Executive Director, Nikki Rothwell.

$5,000 to the Cherry Marketing Institute. A donation sent in the name of Michigan cherry farmers will help the CMI cover the costs of Washington, DC legal work to limit the dumping of cheap Turkish cherries into the USA, which has hurt local cherry farmers by reducing demand for premium Michigan cherries. 

$10,000 to FLOW. At a time when environmental protection seems less likely to come from Washington or Lansing, best practices begin in local communities. This donation supports For Love of Water’s Blue Communities initiative, which empowers townships, cities, counties to instill the values of water stewardship in their policies and practices.

$7,500 to Glen Arbor Arts Center. The Glen Arbor Arts Center, which runs art and culture programs year round, is Cherry Republic’s neighbor across Lake Street. This contribution helps cover some of the final costs on their recent expansion.

$5,000 to Legacy Land Conservancy. This financial support is for all the work Diane Kern and her team at Legacy Land Conservancy are doing to protect the ring of fertile green farmland and forests around Ann Arbor. In total, we have given nearly $50,000 to groups working to protect this valuable resource -- land that is a key sequester of carbon. Thanks to Legacy for your work in documenting the value of carbon sequestering around Ann Arbor.

$6,000 to Inland Seas Education Association. Congrats to Fred Simkins and his terrific team of teachers, researchers and protectors of Michigan’s most valuable resource — Lake Michigan. Inland Seas is rewarded for their push to run their organization off 100% renewable energy produced right on their property.

$5,600 to Terry and Kim Vandercook's Sand Bar Farm. This grant covers 25% of the cost of putting solar panels to power the Vandercook’s farm and home. This is the eighth farm in Northern Michigan that Cherry Republic has helped become powered by renewable energy. It is our company’s hope — along with Crosshatch — that every farm in the north will be 100% powered by wind and solar. (See December 4th gift). Terry and Kim have been breeding and raising goats for the past 13 years. They strive to be good stewards of the land and respect their natural resources by practicing intensive rotational grazing, while composting all manure and bedding material and returning it to the fields. They avoid the use of commercial fertilizers and herbicides; instead, they deploy the goats when and where needed to improve pasture and forage performance. Terry and Kim view adding their ground-mounted 6500 watt solar array as the next “natural” choice. Wanting to achieve maximum efficiency from their system, the Vandercooks added Nano Coating to the surface of the solar modules. They are also able to tilt the angle of the entire array to adjust to the changing seasons. These combined improvements will increase the system’s energy production by as much as 16%.

$12,000 to Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology. This small dynamic group has been a longtime partner with Cherry Republic for many years. We love supporting their programs and have helped them develop some. Among the many programs they’ve created to help farmers and artists thrive, Crosshatch has started two that are near and dear to Cherry Republic’s heart — Carbon Sequester Farming and Renewable Energy Grants.

It’s Giving Tuesday and 10% of Cherry Republic’s sales on this special day will go to SEEDS. We asked our customers to nominate their favorite nonprofits, and SEEDS received an amazing amount of votes! SEEDS has been investing in youth, the environment, and Michigan communities for over 20 years. Through a vast array of restoration, education, and community-based projects, SEEDS helps prepare people of all ages for a better future. SEEDS exists to address global problems by focusing on local solutions including youth leadership training and workforce development, K12 experiential education and after school services, and by supporting clean energy leaders in achieving excellence. Connect with SEEDS and support their work! Visit them online at, email, or connect through social media @SEEDSTC.

$4,500 to Title Track. This is Cherry Republic's important first grant to this new organization that is helping boost the many groups and individuals working to protect the environment in Northern Michigan. Title Track is lead by Seth Bernard, a musician and storyteller, organizer and speaker, visionary and humble supporter of others. Sometimes Cherry Republic donates to good people and then we stand back and watch those individuals spread their wings and fly. $500 of this is to cover Title Track’s work creating Mike King’s ski film about climate change called Feast or Famine.

$35,000 to Michigan League of Conservation Voters. If Michigan has a chance of taking action on protecting our climate, it will be because of the many organizations working across this state that have the vision and influence to make change. None is better and more active than the MLCV. This is the biggest single donation ever given out by Cherry Republic and it goes to the group with the most influence on environmental and climate issues in Michigan.