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31 Days of Giving 2022

31 Days of Giving 2022

This year marks the 10th anniversary of our 31 Days of Giving annual campaign. Throughout the past decade, we have had the humbling opportunity to provide grants to dozens of well-deserving organizations — from loyal stewards of our climate to big-hearted groups that care for our neighbors who need a bit of a hand up during difficult times.

During our 2022 campaign, we plan to gift more than $300,000 to some of our favorite organizations, along with a few new ones. Be sure to follow along throughout the month to see how your patronage of Cherry Republic throughout the year makes all of this possible. We’re kicking off this year a couple of days early on Giving Tuesday to highlight two local Leelanau County groups that are doing so much good for those in need.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

Bob Sutherland, President

November 29: 5Loaves2Fish, $2,500

5Loaves2Fish is an outreach group that promotes social justice by providing nourishing meals, infused with love, to those experiencing food insecurity and homelessness. Simply put, they feed people. Each week they serve people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity by providing a Monday meal at Safe Harbor and Veterans Park in Traverse City, as well as providing meals to Leelanau Christian Neighbors and the Empire Food Pantry for their guests. They also send meals and staple groceries to approximately 16 families in the area once a week. The donation from Cherry Republic will be used for two primary purposes: kitchen upgrades (specifically, new equipment such as induction pots and pans, to increase efficiency) and the cost of staple groceries sent to families.

November 30: Leelanau Christian Neighbors, $2,500

Leelanau Christian Neighbors operates five programs — a food pantry, baby pantry, Blessings in a Backpack (bags of food weekly to food insecure county students), NAM (financial assistance) and Samaritans’ Closet (resale store) — serving residents in Leelanau County experiencing emergencies in their lives. LCN depends on the generosity of the community to be able to assist those needing assistance. This grant will supply food weekly through the school year for 16 students, purchase six hogs for LCN’s food pantry, and pay heating bills, rent and mortgages for many. “Cherry Republic has supported LCN and our neighbors in the past and we are very grateful. Being chosen to receive funds on one of your 31 days of giving is a blessing to LCN and to many neighbors,” LCN shared.

December 1: National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Chapter, $5,000

The National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center unites diverse voices to restore and protect our region’s water, wildlife and communities. Water defines this region—from streams, rivers and wetlands to the magnificent Great Lakes themselves. Whether for habitat, drinking, or recreation, we all rely on our freshwater remaining clean and accessible for all: We literally cannot live without it! NWF Great Lakes Regional Center’s track record of success is collaborative, science-based, and equity-infused to lead to a safer, more resilient future for the Great Lakes. Cherry Republic’s donation will go towards the NWF’s work to restore watersheds, protect our natural resources, dismantle environmental injustices and build climate resiliency. Their work at the local, state, regional and national level is unique and powerful, led by a strong team of scientists, policy analysts, lawyers, communicators and organizers.

December 2: Michigan League of Conservation Voters, $65,000

Longtime followers of our 31 Days of Giving campaign will recognize the name of this dynamic organization, whose good work we have supported for many years. This year’s grant will further the League’s important work of endorsing environmental champions running for office, as well as addressing voting rights, redistricting, clean water, climate change, and access to renewable energy. Michigan League of Conservation Voters is the largest and most effective environmental non-profit working for Michigan, and we are proud to continue to partner with them.

December 3: Grass River Natural Area, $3,500

Located along Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes, the 1,500 acres that make up the Grass River Natural Area harbor a diversity of species and wetland habitats that act as a filter for millions of gallons of surface water flowing into Grand Traverse Bay. Community advocates established GRNA in 1969. They believed in the importance of engaging community members in outdoor discovery and environmental education through volunteerism, year-round recreation, and stewardship. The Grass River Center, erected in 2011, serves as the perfect conduit to 1.33 miles of boardwalk through the unique and fragile wetlands and 6.0 miles of upland trails – the ultimate outdoor classroom. Through year-round public programs such as owl prowls, kayak tours, and family-friendly festivals, and with support of 100 volunteers, we offer enriching hands-on experiences to over 40,000 visitors a year who leave with an increased appreciation for the natural environment.  

December 4: Leelanau Conservancy, $15,000

The Leelanau Conservancy’s mission has always been to conserve the land, water, and scenic character of Leelanau County. They’ve protected over 16,000 acres of land since their start in 1988, and they’re still going strong. The Conservancy believes that preserving the ecology and beauty of Leelanau has far-reaching impacts that make the environment and all who inhabit it better. From farms to forests, wetlands to shoreline, they believe that preserving these features of Leelanau will keep the peninsula vibrant and healthy for years to come. Whether you’ve enjoyed a hike at one of their natural areas or purchased produce from a farm they’ve protected, this grant will help them continue to protect the beauty of the Leelanau you love.

December 5: Circle of Blue, $5,000

Our longtime partnership with Circle of Blue continues with this gift. This team of journalists and scientists is based in NW Michigan and works on the front lines of the world’s freshwater challenges, informing the most important decisions about water, food, and energy in a changing climate. The effects of water scarcity and pollution are profound, disrupting every aspect of life as we know it, and it will only get worse with climate change if we don’t take informed action and apply solutions now. Kudos, too, to Circle of Blue and the Great Lakes News Collaborative for receiving the U.S. Water Prize this year for their comprehensive reporting about water issues in the Great Lakes.

December 6:
Glen Lake Community Library, $3,000

The Glen Lake Community Library serves the residents of Empire, Glen Arbor, and Kasson Townships with diverse resources for learners of all ages and interests. This includes a robust collection of books and media, along with a growing investment in digital collections such as electronic books and streaming movies. With a new facility completed in 2020, generously funded by hundreds of donors, the library is a welcoming community destination for work, study and sharing. An expanding calendar of educational and enrichment programs provides further opportunities for life-long learning. The library’s continued growth is made possible by dedicated local support, from area families and businesses, including Cherry Republic. With this legacy of community engagement, the library will strive to become an even more relevant and valuable resource, reflecting local interests and values, but also serving as a link to an ever-expanding world of information and ideas.

Glen Arbor Art Center, $3,000

Founded in 1983, the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s mission is to enrich community life through the arts. Their vision is to have art everywhere! The Glen Arbor Arts Center is a destination and catalyst for creativity and community collaborations that engage and inspire. Gifts to the center represent about 60% of the funds necessary to support their exhibitions, classes, workshops, artist and musician-in-residence, concerts, performing arts, tuition scholarships, Learning in the Arts and Mentorship program, and Creative Wellness retreats for Glen Arbor community and beyond. Give today and support local art and creative programming!

December 7: Little Traverse Conservancy, $3,000

The mission of the Little Traverse Conservancy is 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. Their service area includes Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygan, and Charlevoix counties. Today the Conservancy maintains nearly 100 miles of trails on more than 50 nature preserves, with hundreds of other preserves permanently protected as natural habitat. With a renewed emphasis on ‘access for all,’ the Conservancy partners with community groups to create designed mountain bike trails, groomed skiing opportunities, and universally accessible trails. For nearly 30 years, LTC has provided environmental education programs – at no cost – to thousands of schoolchildren throughout the year. Quarterly field trips are offered for an adult audience interested in learning more about our valuable natural spaces.

December 8: Row-By-Row, $2,500

The food security legacy created by Buckets of Rain continues, now under the new name Row-by-Row. This awesome group uses Northern Michigan gardens to provide fresh, locally grown vegetables to area food pantries and the Goodwill Inn shelter via Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan. The contributions of local farmers need noting as well, as they open up their orchards for Row by Row to glean and deliver to those in need. To continue to support partners in Detroit, Row-by-Row will again be a huge veggie seedling producer for inner city gardens. Thanks to Glen Lake Community Schools, whose greenhouse and students keep that “future food” warm and watered. Row by Row also has a long-lasting commitment to combating food insecurity and social injustice in the highlands of Guatemala.

December 9: FLOW, $10,000

At FLOW, everything they do is reflected in their name: For Love Of Water. Their mission is to ensure that the Great Lakes, groundwater, and drinking water are healthy, public, and protected for all. When we succeed together, the water cycle thrives and Great Lakes communities prosper—now and for future generations. Based in Traverse City, FLOW uses public trust law, science, citizen action, and the arts to raise awareness and protect public water. Their lawyers and policy experts craft real solutions to complex problems facing the Great Lakes, including pipeline oil spills, groundwater extraction and contamination, lead in drinking water, and climate change. Learn more about how FLOW and their supporters are protecting the magnificent waters of the Great Lakes Basin and a way of life. 

December 10: Leelanau Energy/Energize Leelanau Project, $10,000

Leelanau Energy is a Leelanau County-based nonprofit organization founded in 2008 whose goal is to transform the Leelanau Peninsula into a community 100% percent powered by clean, renewable energy. They are working to achieve that goal by implementing energy conservation and efficiency; conceiving, supporting, and promoting community green projects; advising and advocating for progressive renewable energy policy; and by informing and educating individuals, households and communities. Through their Energize Leelanau project, Leelanau Energy challenged local households, businesses, schools, houses of worship, nonprofits, and governmental entities to “conceive, plan, and implement projects that will improve energy efficiency and/or install new renewable energy on the Leelanau peninsula.” In November, they announced their first round of awardees that will receive combined grants totaling more than $30,000. Cherry Republic’s gift will help fund those awards.

December 11: Michigan Climate Action Network, $29,000

The Michigan Climate Action Network (MiCAN) amplifies, connects, and supports the people, organizations, and communities demanding urgent, bold, and equitable solutions for a just transition to a resilient future. MiCAN just set in motion an all-new strategic plan, meaning Cherry Republic’s support comes at an optimal moment to empower the small-but-mighty staff to deliver impactful value on its outlined objectives. Underscored in that plan, is the importance of acting as the megaphone for Michigan’s climate movement, curating a cutting-edge communications platform that spotlights communities advocating real, equitable solutions. Through grassroots mobilization, MiCAN will radically expand reach and recognition among climate-minded individuals – then serve as a switchboard connecting those advocates with missions that resonate, leveraging active partnerships with its member organizations. In offering a central support hub, MiCAN intends to sustain a powerful network of climate leaders and inspire durable cultural shifts leading to a more just, equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all Michiganders.

December 12: Groundwork Center For Resilient Communities, $6,000

Groundwork is incubating new, collaborative ideas that have the power to change the way we live. From how we move ourselves around to how we energize our homes and cities, from how we feed our children at school to how healthcare professionals incorporate local, farm-fresh food into wellness plans, we are building solutions that will both sustain and unify us. Cherry Republic’s support of these initiatives will help change how we produce and consume food, build a dynamic, carbon-free economy, and help identify new planning and transportation options to keep our neighborhoods livable.

December 13: Great Lakes Business Network, $5,000

The Great Lakes Business Network brings together more than 200 business leaders from eight Great Lakes states to advocate for environmental protection and clean water. The fact-based, non-partisan coalition works to protect the Great Lakes from threats that would devastate the economy and well-being of the Great Lakes region. With support from Cherry Republic, the GLBN looks forward to creating more opportunities for businesses to connect, collaborate and advocate for the health and vitality of communities that rely on our freshwater resources. The GLBN is organized by the National Wildlife Federation and Groundwork, with the partner organizations facilitating environmental clean-up events, decision-maker education days, Great Lakes webinars, and other public engagement opportunities.

December 14: Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology, $10,000

Industrial agriculture is rightly accused of contributing to some of our most intractable problems, including climate change and soil depletion. We know we can do better. Crosshatch is working with our region’s most creative farmers to build place-based, regenerative farming solutions that capture and sequester more carbon then they produce, build soil, shelter wildlife, and of course, feed our community. This year-end gift from Cherry Republic will invest in ‘Carbon Cohorts’ — a new model that incentivizes regenerative farming practices around the region, while also connecting farms in a peer-to-peer learning model. In short, Cherry Republic is helping our farmers gather to learn, share, lean on one-another, and build a tight-knit farm “community of practice” that demonstrates how the midwest can lead the way out of the climate crisis.

December 15: Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, $7,500

Since 1991, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has worked to protect significant natural, scenic and farm lands – and advance stewardship – now and for future generations. They share that the “support of Cherry Republic, and many of our friends, families and neighbors, is enabling us to protect the most important and ecologically significant properties in our five-county service area. Despite escalating real estate values, development threats and other challenges for our regional land protection efforts, we have over 20 high priority projects active right now—preserving the beaches we play at, the farms that produce our summer fruits, the woods that give us clarity and restore us. We’re so grateful to our passionate supporters, volunteers and landowners who have connected to our mission and are finding ways to make a difference for the lands and waters we love every day.”

December 16: SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers, $5,000

SEEDS Ecology and Education Centers is an environmental organization in Michigan that connects people of all ages to nature and each other. They teach practical skills to restore our local ecosystems and create strong communities. SEEDS’ EcoSchool program brings place-based learning opportunities to students in partner schools and prioritizes hands-on and outdoor activities. EcoCorps, their green-collar career exploration program, supports skill training, professional development, and leadership through paid work experience. They also convene community leaders and systems change experts to further energy efficiency and carbon goals in the region. With Cherry Republic’s support, SEEDS will be able to further our mission to implement local solutions to global challenges at the intersection of ecology, education, and design.

December 17: The Leelanau School, $5,000

The Leelanau School is an independent high school for day and boarding students focused on experiential education, small classes, individualized attention, integrated learning support, and a commitment to the whole person. Leelanau’s dedicated faculty work with students inside the classroom and out, engaging students to identify their strengths and embrace themselves as learners – no matter how they learn. A critical part of this reflection and self-awareness develops through The Leelanau School’s residential life programs, travel and outreach, and an exploratory program featuring the academic resources and natural and cultural beauty of northern Michigan and beyond. Campus security is of the utmost concern for Leelanau’s school and parent community. The support from Cherry Republic will help protect the campus with improvements to communication and emergency systems, video security, and technological infrastructure.

December 18: Inland Seas Education Association, $10,000

Since 1989, Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) has provided learners of all ages with hands-on experiences aboard traditionally-rigged tall ship schooners, along the shores of the Great Lakes, and in local rivers, streams, and wetlands. Their mission is to inspire a lifetime of Great Lakes curiosity, stewardship, and passion in people of all ages. This funding support will assist Inland Seas with their current focus on organizational expansion. They have added programming through the winter months, traveling to ports throughout the entire Great Lakes Watershed, expanding their teacher training activities, and expanding to deliver Schoolship programs in Detroit. “Funding from Cherry Republic 31 Days of Caring will make a difference in the lives of youth and the Lakes we love so much,” they shared.

December 19: Legacy Land Conservancy, $3,000

Legacy Land Conservancy has been working to protect and preserve forests, prairies, farms, wetlands, and waters since 1971. As the area’s only accredited land trust, Legacy partners with individuals, landowners, fellow environmental nonprofits, and government-entities to protect land—forever—through private conservation easements and publicly accessible nature preserves in Washtenaw, Jackson, and Lenawee counties. Through innovative and collaborative land protection, Legacy provides conservation of wildlife habitat, preservation of working farms, conserved rural heritage and availability of local food sources, climate change mitigation, increased access to nature for recreation and scenic enjoyment, and clean water safeguarded in healthy watersheds. Support from Cherry Republic will help power Legacy’s work in 2023, including closing on their 10,000th acre of conserved land, their 100th conservation easement, and actively pursuing a new 80-acre public nature preserve project.

December 20: Michigan Environmental Council, $6,000

Michigan Environmental Council drives the environmental agenda in Michigan. For over 40 years, their issue experts have advocated for environmental policies at the State Capitol to protect our land, air, water, and human health. Policy priorities are set collaboratively with its vast network of members and partners throughout the state and include clean water, greener transportation, and energy-efficient homes. This year, Cherry Republic’s grant will help MEC push measures that ensure that 1.4 million children have access to safe drinking water in schools, the state invests in building and renovating affordable housing, and that Michigan takes bolder steps to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

December 21: Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, $6,000

Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) is a non-profit organization that works to expand solar, geothermal and wind energy in Michigan by educating homeowners and businesses about the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy. GLREA also works to enact new policies that support the expansion of renewable energy. But their success with this renewable energy transition has galvanized strong opposition that is threatening to slow down the progress they have made. Renewable Energy in Michigan (REM) is the sister organization of GLREA, and it works to educate and engage members of the public to contact their State Legislator to encourage them to support new policies, like Community Solar that will enable all Michigan families to obtain solar energy, particularly low and moderate-income families. To get involved and to learn more about our work please contact John Freeman at Jfreeman13@comcast.net.

December 22: Empire Area Community Center, $3,500

The Empire Area Community Center’s vision and mission are to enhance the quality of life to those living in the greater Empire Area by financially assisting individuals and or families that have fallen upon hard times. They have been able to pay bills for local residents in the amount of $26,469.45 from January of 2022 to the end of November of 2022. “Cherry Republic’s 31 days of Giving Program has been a consistent contributor to our efforts that have allowed us to continue our work of returning individuals to sustainability after a life changing event in their lives that put them in hard times,” they share. “We thank you and our recipients of assistance thank you.”

December 23: Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, $6,000

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) is a trade organization of clean energy businesses whose mission is to grow Michigan’s advanced energy economy by enabling supportive state policies. Their members install rooftop solar projects, manufacture new electric vehicle chargers, build wind turbine towers, and weatherize homes – creating jobs across Michigan and tackling climate change head on. With this support from Cherry Republic, Michigan EIBC will continue its work to expand access to renewable energy for all Michiganders. Michigan EIBC supports companies like Cherry Republic in their efforts toward sustainability including through the purchase of renewable energy and support for renewable energy projects in their communities. EIBC envisions a future where all Michiganders are able to access clean, reliable, and affordable energy to power their homes, businesses, and vehicles.

December 24: Leslie Science & Nature Center, $3,500

Together with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Leslie Science & Nature Center seeks to create moments of discovery that inspire curiosity, exploration, and respect for STEM and the natural world. Support from Cherry Republic enables them to invest in their staff, sites, and programs and to find new and unique ways to grow and serve the greater community. “We are excited to invite families across the area to visit the LSNC Nature Playscape, observe our Michigan-based critters and birds-of-prey, and experience our environment-focused family programs,” they share.

December 25: Title Track, $2,000

Title Track is very proud of the work that they have done in 2022, from uplifting the work of Great Lakes champions through their State of Water podcast to the expansion of their Understanding Racial Justice program, and everything in between. They served as a presenting partner in many impactful educational and cultural events such as the Michigan Climate and Clean Energy Summit, Re:Claim, and the Water is Life Festival, and continued to deepen their ongoing efforts shaping federal policy through the national Water Equity and Climate Resilience Caucus. They are meeting the challenges of these times with vision, imagination, teamwork, and full dedication. Cherry Republic has been a strong supporter of Title Track since their launch in 2019, and we extend a warm invitation for you to be a part of this work by including them in your end of year giving plans.

December 26: Women’s Resource Center, $2,500

Since 1975 the Women’s Resource Center, has protected, sheltered, and empowered thousands of people in our community who have been impacted by domestic and sexual violence. The dedication, resilience, and organization of the agency’s Founding Mothers created a legacy in our community that has continued. Mary Sutherland, one of the WRC founders, was a part of the Board of Directors in 1976 when the meeting minutes read, “… every year that the WRC functions, we come closer to our goal of helping each individual woman recognize her own strengths, talents and abilities and develop her own realistic plans for utilizing her full potential.” The WRC still uses that same empowerment-based philosophy believing that “survivors should be  honored as experts of their own experiences.” Thanks to Mamma Mary Sutherland for helping to empower survivors and their families.

December 27: Housing North, $5,000

Housing North is a nonprofit organization that works to remove barriers to housing and to find housing solutions in 10 Counties in NW Michigan. They are an independent nonprofit laser-focused on addressing the systemic problems around housing. If these barriers can be removed, a new and strong foundation can be built, one that will serve as a stabilizing force for a healthier, more sustainable, thriving northwest Michigan. Their mission is to build awareness, influence policy, and expand capacity so communities can create housing solutions that meet their unique needs. Their vision is that northwest Michigan will be a place where people of all income levels can find homes that are safe and affordable. They share that “support from Cherry Republic ensures we can keep our doors open and our programs going. This year we are using this gift towards a matching challenge grant from Consumers Energy Foundation. If we raise $100,000, the Foundation will match $100,000 to help secure a year-round duplex in Leelanau County. This will launch a pilot rental preservation program in partnership with a local community land trust, Peninsula Housing and a revolving loan fund for housing. A portion of the grant will be repaid to Housing North to put towards future projects.”

December 28: Sleeping Bear Gateways Council, $5,000

The Sleeping Bear Gateways Council is exploring the feasibility of existing and new workforce housing solutions in Benzie and Leelanau Counties, including a housing exchange program to match local employees seeking housing with property owners who have space to rent; repurposing existing community facilities to support workforce housing; and developing vacant parcels to support workforce housing. The Council relies on support from local employers, community groups, and individual volunteers to further our understanding and implementation of what is possible regarding workforce housing in Benzie and Leelanau Counties.

December 29: Citizens’ Climate Education, $3,000

Citizens’ Climate Lobby equips everyday people with the training, resources, and support of a multi-million dollar lobbying firm—all on a nonprofit budget. They like to say they have the best lobbyists that money can’t buy! They are starting productive conversations about climate solutions in our communities. With 400 chapters across the country, including 18 here in Michigan, they’re making a much bigger impact together than we could individually. By building strong working relationships with Republican and Democratic policymakers, they’re able to strategically push both sides on impactful climate policies. Congressional staff now reach out to them for help, and they’ve made incredible progress. Just this year, they helped achieve our nation’s biggest win yet on climate: Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included the biggest climate provisions in U.S. history.

December 30: Washtenaw Camp Placement, $3,500

Washtenaw Camp Placement (WCP) believes that resident summer camp is a life changing experience providing children an opportunity for growth in social, emotional, and physical well-being. Their mission is to connect economically disadvantaged youth to camp through community support. In 60 years of operation, WCP has awarded over 10,000 camperships (camp scholarships) through the commitment of volunteers, donors, and partner camp. The 2022 Cherry Republic 31 Days of Giving will provide several campers time away from the pressures of their environment—and their electronic gadgets! Many will be at a beach, or in a boat, for their first time in their life. It may be their first chance to observe the stars and planets away from city lights. Making new friends and trying new activities gives them opportunities to discover positive new ways of thinking about themselves. Camp is not a luxury for these children, it is necessary life experience.

December 31: TART, $5,000

Born from four distinct trail organizations, TART Trails was formed in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with the mission to provide and promote a trail network that enriches people and communities throughout the greater Traverse region. They work toward a vision of happy, active people making connections through a world-class trail network. Support from the Cherry Republic’s 31 Days of Giving program provides important funding enabling them to work towards their strategic goals: increasing miles of trail, ensuring sustainable, safe access for non-motorized users; and contributing to the social, economic, environmental, and community health of our region.