Up North Blog

31 Days of Giving 2021

A Message From Bob Sutherland

Welcome to our 9th annual 31 Days of Giving campaign — Cherry Republic’s oldest charitable giving initiative. Throughout the month of December, we will announce gifts totaling $300,000 to Michigan organizations protecting our water, climate, and quality of life.

December 1
$30,000 to the Michigan League of Conservation Voters – Best Practices Training & Implementation

We start out our December of giving with a new gift that we hope pays big returns for the environmental community in Michigan. It is $30,000 for best practices training for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. We expect a year or two of training for MLCV’s 35 staff in the leading operational methods practices will lead to a more effective, satisfied, and happier nonprofit-centered staff. Fighting for the Great Lakes is really challenging work, so this will give staff the long term tools to thrive.  

December 2
$5,000 to The National Wildlife Federation – Great Lakes Chapter

I’ve gotten to know this top-notch organization due to Cherry Republic’s involvement in shutting down the Line 5 Pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. If something involves protecting our valuable freshwater, the National Wildlife Foundation’s Great Lakes Regional Center is there time and time again.

December 3
$3,500 to the Grass River Natural Area

The 1,492-acre Grass River Natural Area in Antrim County is one of our favorite nature preserves, offering visitors an outdoor, living laboratory to explore and learn. The Grass River Center is open year-round, offering a comfortable learning environment for public programming, school field trips, camps, and more.

December 4
$7,500 to The Leelanau Conservancy

Cherry Republic has been a proud supporter of The Leelanau Conservancy for 28 years. This group’s mission is vitally important, and their Executive Director Tom Nelson explains why. “First, we must keep doing what we’ve always done—building trusting relationships, welcoming people of all walks of life to join our mission. Similarly, our work must continue to be rooted in the best scientific information available. Trusting relationships paired with good science constitute the rock-solid foundation of everything we do.”

December 5
$5,000 to Circle of Blue

Our longtime partnership with Circle of Blue continues with this gift. This environmental advocacy group knows that the effects of fresh water scarcity are profound, disrupting every aspect of life as we know it, and it will only get worse if we don’t take action now. Circle of Blue works to impact global decisions about water, food, and energy in a changing climate.

December 6
$3,000 to Glen Lake Library
$3,000 to Glen Arbor Arts Center

Today we lend our support to two local organizations that impact the lifeblood of our Northern Michigan. The Glen Lake Library has served the residents of Empire, Glen Arbor, and Kasson townships since 1977 and functions as a vital information hub for our community. The Glen Arbor Arts Center, a longtime Cherry Republic friend, keeps the arts alive all year long by supporting the arts, art making, and creativity.

December 7
$3,000 to the Little Traverse Land Conservancy

Cherry Republic is happy to support the Little Traverse Conservancy in their mission to protect the natural diversity and beauty of northern Michigan by preserving significant land and scenic areas, and fostering appreciation and understanding of the environment.

December 8
$7,500 to Buckets of Rain

A longtime friend and partner of Cherry Republic, Buckets of Rain is a Leelanau County-based nonprofit that continues to support the rebuilding of Detroit by transforming blighted areas into agricultural oases — growing hope and feeding lives one garden at a time.

December 9
$10,000 to FLOW

Today we are happy to announce a gift of $10,000 to help support the good work of the folks at For Love of Water (FLOW). Liz Kirkwood and her passionate team continue to fight to safeguard the Great Lakes—including their commitment to shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline.

December 10
$7,500 to the Michigan Climate Action Network

Cherry Republic joins with MiCAN in working toward a state with 100% clean, affordable energy for all and where all Michiganders live in pollution-free communities, thereby preserving the health, safety, and quality of life that makes Michigan the exceptional place we all call our home.

December 11
$5,000 to the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

Since its beginning in 1995 as the Michigan Land Use Institute, this outstanding organization has been doing transformational work to protect the environment, strengthen our economy, and build thriving communities. We are so happy to continue our partnership with the Groundwork Center.

December 12
$5,000 to the Great Lakes Business Network

The non-partisan Great Lakes Business Network is a network of business leaders committed to protecting the Great Lakes region from threats to the natural environment. They strive to be the leading business voice for protecting the health and vitality of the Great Lakes and the economy, businesses and communities that depend upon them.

December 13
$8,000 to Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology

Cherry Republic is a longtime partner of the Crosshatch Center, which has been building strong communities through the intersections of art, farming, ecology and economy for more than 15 years. We are in agreement with this group in their belief that “people connect through stories, music, art, shared work, and food, and the economy and culture are rooted in restoration of the earth and its people.”

December 14
$7,500 to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

With the support of individual donors, foundations and volunteers, and the partnership of local, state, and federal agencies, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has protected nearly 46,000 acres of land and more than 150 miles of shoreline over the past 30 years. And Cherry Republic is proud to be a longtime partner and supporter.

December 15
$5,000 to SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers

SEEDS has been investing in youth, the environment, and Michigan communities for over 20 years. They 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. And we are happy to partner with them once again.

December 16
$40,000 to The Leelanau School

Today we are happy to announce a gift of $40,000 to The Leelanau School to help them renovate an old dorm into three small apartments which will be filled with young year-round employees at The Leelanau School and at Cherry Republic. This local private school with an emphasis on the natural world has been a terrific partner to Cherry Republic in our efforts to increase housing for workers. Leelanau County’s housing shortage seems to worsen every year, and the shortage is extra severe in the Glen Lake region. This is the first of a two year pledge for $80,000.

December 17
$5,000 to the Inland Seas Education Association

After more than 30 years and reaching more than 125,000 program participants, ISEA is convinced that the scientists and citizens who will solve the Great Lakes’ problems of the future will sail aboard Inland Seas’ ships today, and we are proud to support them!

December 18
$2,500 to the Lake Erie Foundation

Last month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a friendly bet with Ohio’s Governor over a little football game. If U of M lost, our Governor pledged to send a Cherry Republic gift box to Gov. DeWine. While the Wolverines ended up as the victors, we still wanted to send a little something to our neighbors to the south. Today we’re gifting $2,500 to the Lake Erie Foundation, which works to sustain and protect the waters of Lake Erie now and in the future.

December 19
$3,000 to the Legacy Land Conservancy

Founded in 1971, Legacy Land Conservancy is Michigan’s oldest organization dedicated to the voluntary conservation of locally important land. For nearly 50 years, they’ve worked with individuals, landowners, organizations, and local government to protect forests, prairies, farms, wetlands, and waters in southern Michigan. And we are proud to be a past and current supporter.

December 20
$6,000 to the Michigan Environmental Council

For more than 40 years, the Michigan Environmental Council has promoted public policies to ensure that Michigan families will enjoy clear waters, clean beaches, beautiful landscapes and healthy communities for years to come. And we are on board with all of that!

December 21
$6,000 to Renewable Energy for Michigan

REM is a partner organization of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) and part of Cherry Republic’s ongoing mission to support renewable energy solutions to curb global warming.

December 22
$3,000 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. Cherry Republic is proud to partner with the next generation of environmentalists!

December 23
$3,500 to the Empire Area Community Center

A terrific local organization, the EACC enhances the quality of life of those living in the greater Empire area through the promotion of community activities and involvement. This donation is made in the name of longtime Cherry Republic employee and Empire resident, Jim Peterson, who recently left this planet for bigger things.

December 24
$6,000 to the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council

The MIEIBC is a coalition of major businesses in Michigan’s exciting advanced energy sector. This funding is to support MIEIBC’s work to create a solar/storage public school grant program for the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). A key piece of EGLE’s grant program could be matching it with philanthropy. As a start, $6,000 from Cherry Republic’s Round Up For Renewables program, which helps fund solar in schools, will go to cost-share the drafting of this grant initiative by EGLE.

December 25
$3,500 to the Leslie Science And Nature Center

We are happy to partner once again with the Leslie Science & Nature Center in Ann Arbor, which creates moments of discovery that inspire curiosity, exploration and respect for STEM and the natural world.

December 26
$50,000 toward Cherry Republic’s VP of Environmental and Social Impact

In spring of 2022, Cherry Republic is planning to invest $50,000 to cover part of the cost of hiring an environmentally-minded business professional to take over Bob’s role of managing Cherry Republic’s environmental and social philanthropy, government relations, internal sustainability projects, climate and water protection advocacy, and corporate partnerships. For 30 years, Bob has personally overseen this work, and now he’s ready to delegate to someone  who can work full time to leverage Cherry Republic’s brand, grant money, partnerships and customer passion for the betterment of Michigan and the planet.

December 27
$4,500 to the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA

From working with kids to teach them good sportsmanship to teaching people of all ages about healthy living and social responsibility, the GT Bay YMCA is a real treasure in our community, and we are proud to support their efforts.

$2,000 to Title Track

Cherry Republic made its first grant to Title Track in 2019, and we are so happy to do so again this year. Led by Seth Bernard — a musician, storyteller, organizer, speaker, and visionary — Title Track works to build resilient social-ecological systems that support clean water, racial equity, and youth empowerment.

December 28
$5,000 to the Sleeping Bear Gateways Council

As our National Lakeshore attracts more and more visitors each year, the Sleeping Bear Gateways Council works closely with the Park Service to assure that infrastructure needs – both within the park and around it in the local communities – develop in a way that sustains the beauty of our area and the quality of the experiences of those who live and visit our beautiful part of the world.

$5,000 to Housing North

Since Housing North began work in 2019, it has become a recognized voice statewide introducing, championing and implementing innovative housing solutions—through new legislation, the Homes for our Future public awareness campaign, new housing conservancy tools, local staff to coordinate development, and a resource library for advocates, local governments and employers.

December 29
$3,000 to the Citizens Climate Lobby – Grand Traverse Area Chapter

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization empowering people to experience breakthroughs exercising their personal and political power. The Grand Traverse Area Chapter is just one of hundreds of chapters across the world working to create the political will for a livable world.

December 30
$45,000 to the Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Cherry Republic announces its second donation to the MLCV during this 31 Days of Giving campaign — this one for $45,000. This grant will further all their work on the key issues that we Michiganders most care about: voting rights, redistricting, clean water, climate change, and access to renewable energy. MLCV is the largest and most effective environmental non-profit working for Michigan, and we are proud to join forces with them.

December 31
$3,500 to Washtenaw Camp Placement

We round out our 31 Days of Giving with gifts benefitting two of our favorite things — kids and renewable energy! Washtenaw Camp Placement gives young people the precious and life-affirming opportunity to get outside and be active. This year’s grant will help in connecting at-risk youth in the Ann Arbor area to camps through community support.

$5,000 to Providence Organic Farm

This is part of a multi-year gift to the Romeyn family farm. Their Providence Organic Farm has one of the largest solar installations Cherry Republic has been a part of. This solar installation — which should be operational later this week — will power the Romeyn’s farm, processing facility, and farm market. Here’s to more clean energy advancements in 2022!

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