Sharing Pie Up North Blog

The 31 Days of Giving

Cherry Republic is proud to announce the 50+ worthwhile recipients of our 2017 31 Days of Giving.  Our donations are focused on environmental and agricultural organizations with vision. This year, we introduce a new mission of ours —  In five years, Cherry Republic will be powered by 100% local renewable energy.  We hope to contribute to organizations that share the same values, but we all have five years to get there.  Check back each day around 12 P.M. EST as we recognize and reward a new non-profit for their hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to these 31 Days of Giving recipients:

December 31

Utopia Foundation – $15,000

Our last donation goes to our longtime local ally in giving, the Traverse City-based Utopia Foundation which focuses their grants toward organizations with a focus on Early Childhood Development and micro-loans and micro enterprise programs in Africa and Central America.  

December 30

Loma Farm – $5,000

This is a second grant for helping small farmers move to powering their farms with 100% renewable energy.  The Loma Farm plans to hire local solar firm CBS Solar to build and construct two rows of 12 solar arrays on their south facing farm.  The Loma Farm is a small-scale vegetable and flower farm in southern Leelanau County.  They grow following organic practices with a deep concern for the health of the land and a love of high quality produce.  They supply area restaurants, farm markets and distribute weekly shares directly to homes through their CSA.  

December 29

SEEDS – $5,000

This contribution goes to SEEDS (which stands for Ecology, Education and Design) Food and Farming program located at the old state hospital grounds in Traverse City.  This program is designed for youth to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to grow a small-scale, diverse, organic vegetable farm.  Youth gain exposure to entrepreneurial agriculture – a growing green-collar industry.  SEEDS manages approximately 5 acres with their agriculturally focused youth conservation corps team.

December 28

Boys and Girls Club of Holland, Flint and SE Michigan – $8,250

Here’s several more new donations by Cherry Republic — which is part of our Joy of Giving campaign in our stores.  We handed out dozens of small boxes and also $2,750 checks to three important clubs making a difference in keeping kids active, motivated, and doing well in school and at home.

December 27

Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan – $5,500

As part of our Joy of Giving holiday campaign in our Glen Arbor and Traverse City stores, this donation goes to the agency that best can help ensure that kids on the edge have a happy Christmas.  This money is earmarked for Pete’s Place, a youth shelter within NWCFS that provides a safe place for teens to stay when it’s too hard to be home or when you have nowhere safe to stay.  Teens receive food, shelter, counseling, (a special Cherry Republic Christmas gift) and support from caring professionals.

December 26

$5,000 in lots of little donations to these important groups that have special connections to the Cherry Republic stores across the state.  We wish we could send more to these groups…

Leo Creek Preserve in Suttons Bay ($500), Boots for Kids in Traverse City ($500), Frankenmuth Community Foundation ($500), Heights of Hope in Holland ($1,500), Glen Lake Association ($1,000), Inland Seas ($1,000).

December 25

Michigan Environmental Council
Circle of Blue

Half of the donation goes to the MEC which works to protect Michigan’s beautiful natural resource: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we grow food on, and the neighborhoods we live in. Another $3,000 to Circle of Blue which provides relevant, reliable, and actionable on-the-ground information about the world’s resource crises.

December 24

Carbon Offsets for CHERRY REPUBLIC, MLCV, & GROUNDWORKS – $4,000

For the third year, Cherry Republic purchases renewable energy from wind turbines in Iowa through Arcadia Power, a carbon offset company based in Washington DC.  We also give $1,000 grants to Groundworks and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters to purchase renewable offsets to power their organizations for all of 2018.   

December 23

Little Traverse Land Conservancy – $3,500

This donation goes to farmland preservation programs run by our Land Conservancy in the Petoskey and Charlevoix region.  We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the LTLC over the years.

December 22

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes – $4,000

We’ve partnered with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes organization on various projects for as long as we can remember. This year’s $4,000 donation is earmarked for the Kettles Trail — a new trail that the national park is developing that links up this unique geological landscape (located southeast of Glen Lake) which most people visiting the park don’t get to experience. This money will help make a local secret more accessible to all.

December 21

Buckets of Rain – $7,500

Since 2012, Buckets of Rain has produced hundreds-of-thousands of servings of fresh produce for the rescue missions and residents near the organization’s “Big Glen” garden in Highland Park — a Detroit neighborhood less than a mile from 4 large homeless shelters. By 2020, they hope to produce 500,000 servings of fresh vegetables per season! We love partnering with this group that spreads the bounty of the earth with those who don’t often have access to it. This year’s donation of $7,500 brings our total gifts to Buckets of Rain to nearly $27,000. Thanks to Chris, Paul, Mike and the whole team for their continued good work!

December 20

The May Farm – $5,000

This is Cherry Republic’s favorite donation of 2017.  This grant is the first of what we hope of many to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farmers like Sharron and Paul to help them install solar panels to power the majority of their farm with renewables.  This spring, alongside their cattle, sheep, and bountiful crops will be a beautiful array of solar panels.  Cherry Republic plans to donate $100,000 over the next 3 years to small farms who’d like to transition to powering their farm and homes with 100% renewable energy.

December 19

Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference

We continue to send more money each year to this organization with a plan to help rural America thrive through art, farming, and ecology.  This money supports basic operations and overhead, a $2,500 sponsorship of the NMSFC, and $2,500 to their new micro-loan program for local farmers who’d like to enhance an existing farming venture or start a new one.  Here’s to Brad, Amanda, Rolf, Barb, Brian and the rest of the staff and board of directors.

December 18

$6,500 total
Empire Area Community Center’s Emergency Fund
Leelanau Christian Neighbors
Benzie Area Christian Neighbors

These three local family emergency support organizations play a vital role in keeping local families together when unanticipated health and financial problems occur.  

December 17

$10,000 total
Legacy Land Conservancy
Ann Arbor Greenbelt Initiative

This donation goes toward support of these organizations and their innovative land preservation programs that have protected over 5,060 acres of farmland and open space surrounding the City of Ann Arbor, and has leveraged over $24 million through grants, landowner donations, and other locally funded programs.

December 16

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy – $12,200

This donation is in support of GTRLC’s ongoing agricultural programs.  $8,000 to Farmland Preservation, which will help protect a vital cog in northern Michigan’s economy — our farms.  $4,200 to purchase the beef of two free range Belted Gallaway cattle raised on a beautiful stretch of pasture located in the conservancies Misty Acres Borwell Preserve.

December 15

$2,000 Each
Big Brothers Big Sisters
The Leelanau County Early Childhood Development Fund
Grand Traverse Dyslexia Center

$2,000 checks will be sent to these three organizations providing important services for children in Leelanau County and Traverse City.

December 14

Leelanau School – $5,000

This grant is truly for Joe, Laura, Julie and all the great kids and staff at our school right here in Glen Arbor.  It has always been a challenge to operate a private school so far away from a population center, but this school continues to turn out great kids and provide meaningful jobs for 40 community members.

December 13

The Institute for Sustainable Foraging – $5,000

The Institute for Sustainable Foraging was founded locally here in Leelanau County and Traverse City in 2016. The growth in foraging has prompted concerns about whether or not such an increase is sustainable.  ISF is combining the best available science with the deepest field experience and observations to create a “Certified Sustainably Foraged” program. This will allow consumers and foragers alike who have an interest in the conservation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to build a culture of responsible harvest of wild foraged foods. Congrats to Joe, Brian, Chip and the entire team at ISF.

December 12

Leslie Science and Nature Center – $3,500

This beautiful and active nature center just outside of Ann Arbor fits Cherry Republic’s philanthropic goal to get kids outside and close to nature.  It is easy up here in the north, and we are happy to support the pristine places like this near our store in Ann Arbor.  Thanks for the tour this past summer Susan, and Happy Holidays to you and your staff.

December 11

Michigan League of Conservation Voters – $7,500

MLCV is one of the largest environmental organizations in the state with a staff of nearly twenty.  It is the only non-partisan political organization in Michigan working to protect our air, water, and land.  This donation is not earmarked — it is for ongoing operational support.  Have a great Christmas Lisa, Katie, Lauren, Phil, Janis and team!

December 10

Third Level Crisis Intervention Center

Father Fred Foundation
The Woman’s Resource Center

We have been supporting these important groups for many years, but this year we give $3,500 to a special program within Father Fred Foundation — their new Eviction Diversion Program, which provides one-time rental assistance to tenants who have fallen behind due to a short term problem.  $2,000 each to Third Level (my sister Patty volunteered for them in the 1980’s) and the WRC (my mother was one of the founders in 1975).

December 9

Northwest Michigan Food Coalition – $5,000

NMFC is a coalition of 60+ food pantries and meal sites in Northern Michigan. This donation goes toward a new program where they will be buying fresh local food from area farmers to be distributed by the food pantries. For many people, these pantries are a main source of food.  Hence the need to improve the nutritional quality of the food that is distributed, which will  improve their health through better nutrition. We are proud that this donation will be a win-win for both the local farmers who will have a new consistent market their crops and for those that receive these healthy local foods.

December 8

Grass River Natural Area – $4,500

Grass River is a 1,400-acre preserve protecting wetlands, shorelines, and wildlife in Antrim County.  They have one of the longest boardwalks in the state which takes hikers through pristine marshland.  They also have a great nature center full of hands on activities.  Congrats to all the good people involved in protecting and showcasing this great land.

December 7

Outdoor Discovery Center – $3,000

The 130-acre parcel of land in Holland, Michigan has six naturally occurring, distinct ecosystems including: ponds, remnant dunes, wetlands, meadows, remnant prairies, and lowland hardwood forests.  It is where SW Michigan children learn about nature and what makes our states wildlands so special and important to protect.

December 6

Native American Rights Fund – $5,000

This timely donation goes to support the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute, and Ute Mountain Native American Tribes’ December 4 lawsuit against the federal government’s move to revoke Bears Ears National Monument. Never before has a National Monument or a National Park’s status been revoked as is being attempted by the current administration. This donation is to help protect Bears Ears and prevent a possible precedent-setting catastrophe that could threaten the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and all places we hold dear.

December 5

Glen Arbor Art Association – $5,000

This is the second installment of a $15,000 pledge toward the large expansion project is 99% completed.  The new art space and expanded home to hundreds of artists across from Cherry Republic is looking great.  It officially opens to the public on Friday, January 12th with an exhibition called New Gallery, New Work.

December 4

Washtenaw Camp Placement Association – $3,500

What could be better for both Ann Arbor and Northern Michigan than to contribute to this summer camp scholarship organization that sends needy Ann Arbor kids to camp for a week or two.  It can make a life changing difference in these kids, but it also supports these great outdoor camps scattered all over Northern Michigan.  WCPA has sent nearly 10,000 kids to camp in the last 60 years who would not have the opportunity otherwise. Check out this great organization here.

December 3

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail – $5,000

A $5,000 check will be written to the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.  The Heritage Trail is a hard-surfaced, non-motorized, multi-use trail planned to span 27 miles from the northern end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the south of Empire. Currently the trail runs almost 22 miles.  This donation puts Cherry Republic total gifts to the trail at $95,000.  Each dollar contributed feels like a gift to ourselves as this trail is enjoyed by our staff and families as much as anyone.

December 2

Leelanau Conservancy – $12,000

Cherry Republic has donated to the Leelanau Conservancy for 26 years. This was during those first years, when our company was losing money, but we had a commitment to give back to the community no matter what — even if it was our last dollar. $3,000 of this is the second part of a three-year pledge to fund the purchase of Palmer Woods. $3,000 is a contribution toward the construction of multi-use single track trails within the Palmer Woods park. And finally, $6,000 goes toward the Leelanau Conservancy’s Farmland Programs. (Cherry Republic Green Note: The Leelanau Conservancy offices have a large solar array that reduces their carbon footprint.) Congrats to Tom, Betsy and Team!

December 1st

FLOW – $6,500
For Love of Water’s (FLOW) focus is protecting citizens’ legal right to use the Great Lake’s Basin’s common waters for drinking, fishing, swimming, recreation, navigation and the like. It also holds state governments accountable for ensuring these waters and public uses are protected for current and future generations.  FLOW continues the fight to decommission Line 5 and prevent a catastrophic oil spill in the Mackinac Straits.  FLOW is also deeply committed to getting their energy footprint powered by 100% local renewable energy.  Liz, Jim, Dave, Nayt and Kelly — The best to you this Holiday Season!

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