Once again, Cherry Republic will be selecting worthy recipients throughout the month of December during our 6th annual "31 Days of Giving" campaign. This year, we'll be focusing in a special way on partnering with organizations that are helping to combat climate change and promote the use of renewable energy. Please check back daily as we update this post!

January 1, 2019 Update:
Congratulations to all of our worthy 31 Days of Giving recipients for 2018! We are proud and humbled to have been able, with the help of our generous customers, to support your good works once again. Here's to a happy and healthy new year during which we continue to take real action to protect our precious natural resources. -- Bob

December 1
$5,000 to Inland Seas Education Association 
What's not to love about Inland Seas? They are teachers, data collectors, and protectors of our precious Great Lakes. And this passionate organization does this all while teaching kids how to sail on the Tall Ships that ply Grand Traverse Bay. Inland Seas also has installed solar power arrays that generate nearly all the electrical needs in a year. And this great environmental organization started in 1989, the same year that Cherry Republic was born. (Note: We are thrilled that our $5,000 gift will be matched by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation for a total of $10,000! This matching opportunity runs through December 31, so think about donating yourself to the Inland Seas!)

December 2:
$5,000 to Glen Lake Art Association
This is the final installment of a $15,000 pledge to the fantastic renovation project completed this past spring. And the art community in Glen Arbor, one of the strongest per capita anywhere in the world, just got that much stronger: A bigger better art space, better offerings, better branding, and more staff and outreach. This is our final payment for this building, but it won't be the last for this important community organization.

December 3:
$13,110 to The Leelanau School
This is the final payment of a $35,000 commitment to cover the costs of renovating an eight-unit dorm at our favorite boarding school where nature and individualized curriculum are the focus. This partnership with Leelanau Schools is a win-win for both of us as the renovation resulted in offering the spaces to 12 Cherry Republic college kids in the summer and for some great lounge space for the high school students in the school year.

December 4:
$2,500 to Glen Lake Community Schools Wellness Committee
Following up a grant to The Leelanau School is this contribution to this vital committee at our local public school that is charged with addressing the health and well-being of children and staff. The check is to be used by the Wellness Committee or its chair’s jurisdiction, ideally in a way that values and appreciates our great staff, but that is up to them.

$2,500 to Glen Lake Community Schools Solar Array Project
A second check of up to $2,500 will be pledged as a matching challenge for a 24-panel solar array that will be purchased and installed by Glen Lake’s Envirothon Team. It is great to support go-getter kids who are focused on big issues like climate change and the need to move to the use of renewable energy.

December 5:
$3,000 to Grass River Natural Area
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. The good people who manage this beautiful area are focused on conserving and protecting its watershed, and providing opportunities that increase knowledge, appreciation and community-wide stewardship of the natural environment.

December 6:
$3,000 to Outdoor Discovery Center
This 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 children in Southwest Michigan learn about nature and what makes our state's wild lands so special and important to protect.

December 7:
$1,500 to Leo Creek Preserve
This little organization that manages a small parcel of land just outside Suttons Bay has beautiful Leo Creek flowing through it. Years ago, for weeks in the early fall I would take a take a passel of preschool kids through a low marsh, over this fragile creek, to a blueberry patch. Each trek, I was just awestruck at the sense of wonder of the kids, and this would overcome all the frowns directed at me when their parents saw their kids' mud-soaked shoes. Leo Creek today has some impressive activities to slow global warming. For example, 100% of the power at Leo Creek Preserve is generated from solar panels that power their new deep-water well pump. They also run three carbon-sequestering demonstration programs at the preserve.

December 8:
$3,884 to Traverse Area Recreational Trails
In June of 2018, we placed a sticker on our Hikers Mix that says $1 to TART Trails from every purchase. This simple strategy raises awareness for TART, which does so much to get people out of their cars and into other more global-friendly modes of transport. Of course, it also raises some serious money for an organization managing miles and miles of trails, numerous events, and whose offices are powered 100% through the Voluntary Green Pricing Program at Traverse City Light and Power.

December 9:
$3,494.25 to Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

This donation is in support of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy's Misty Acres Preserve. It goes toward our annual purchase of two Hereford cattle that are ecologically raised on the farm through a number of terrific demonstration programs. Not surprisingly, this program's success and the success in selling what they raise has overflowed to benefit other farms in the area.

December 10:
$6,500 to For Love of Water
Some organizations, like For the Love of Water, just fit Cherry Republic's giving philosophy to a tee. They are dedicated to protecting the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and are deeply commitmented to addressing climate change. FLOW is committed to shifting to renewable energy offsets as shown by its "Blue Communities" initiative right here in our Grand Traverse Bay Watershed. They are partnering with diverse stakeholders (NGOs, businesses, and local governments) to build a common agenda around water and the need to protect the entire water cycle from the impacts of climate change.

December 11:
$1,500 to The Greenspire School
Here is a terrific outdoorsy alternative school that is transitioning from traditional school funding within the Traverse City Public School System. Kids spend nearly half the day outside in a beautiful setting on the grounds of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons (the grounds of the former Northern Michigan Asylum). This school appeared on our radar when Colebrook considered attending in the 2018-19 school year.

December 12:
$5,000 to Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail
Starting 12 years ago, when this tremendously popular trail was just a little dream seed within a few of our hearts, Cherry Republic has been working to promote this multi-use trail that threads through the most popular destinations in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We have proudly given $95,000 toward the construction of this 27-mile bike trail. This $5,000 donation will go toward the cost of the final six miles to the north, which will hopefully be built over the next two years.

December 13:
$4,000 to SEEDS
SEEDS provides ecological work and education for youth across northern Michigan. They offer on-the-job training for the green economy, as well as provide a qualified voice to local issues and planning. SEEDS has been working hard on harvesting invasive black locust trees from the Sleeping Bear Dunes and turning them into valuable non-toxic durable wood for decking, bridges, and walkways across Michigan.

December 14:
$3,000 to Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association
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.

December 15:
$3,500 to Washtenaw Camp Placement Association
We love contributing to this summer camp scholarship organization that enables Ann Arbor-area kids to go to summer camp for a week or two. These youngsters would not have the opportunity to experience the great outdoor camps scattered all over Northern Michigan without WCPA, which has awarded "camperships" to nearly 10,000 kids in the last 60 years.

December 16:
$3,500 to Leslie Science and Nature Center
Kids get the chance to get outside, experience nature, explore their natural surroundings, and gain respect for STEM when visiting this beautiful and active nature center just outside of Ann Arbor. What could be better than that?

December 17 - 19:

These next three gifts in our 31 Days of Giving mark the largest donations Cherry Republic has ever made at one time. In just three days, we will donate over $65,000 to these key collaborative organizations working to slow global warming and to create a renewable energy renaissance up here in the north. What’s the growing vision? A large pool of money to give renewable grants to schools, farms, and other institutions and organizations. The installation of a large 10- to 20-megawatt community solar farm. Strategically placed wind tower installations. One hundred percent local renewable commitments from businesses, organizations, institutions, homeowners even cities and towns. Let’s all dream. These are the groups to make it happen!

A personal note from Bob: “The fastest way to convert to a renewable future to slow global warming is to change the energy dialog from making good investments to a language of giving and generosity. If we act on global warming -- this greatest threat to northern Michigan -- with our hearts and fund renewables as a gift to our neighbors and to our grandchildren, we can make this renewable future happen so fast. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas!”

December 17:
$25,000 to Michigan Climate Action Network
Our first donation, for $25,000, goes to the Michigan Climate Action Network (MICAN), which is a small grassroots organization calling for clean energy solutions that put us on a path to climate stability. With this gift, we believe that MICAN is ready to take a large role in organizing and facilitating a common vision and strategy for making our region a leader in addressing climate change. As always, Cherry Republic gives to good people doing good things. Here’s to Kate Madigan and Tom Porter.

December 18:
$20,000 to Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities
For years, Groundwork has been working to solve many, many local issues related to energy and climate. Their good work has been in bits and pieces, responding to issues as they come up like Line 5 and the push to get Traverse City to commit to 100% renewable energy. This donation will give Groundwork extra capacity to communicate and proactively spread that renewable vision across the north. They are the biggest environmental non-profit in the north, and if we can get this whole organization putting much more of their time toward inspiring and getting renewable commitments and creating projects around the north, so much the better.

December 19:
$20,000 to Michigan League of Conservation Voters
We can raise money, drive our Prius cars, put solar panels on our rooftops, raise thousands of dollars, and talk until we are blue in the face, but nothing will move the needle toward slowing climate change more effectively than getting our state legislators to adopt laws that take action and incentivize our region’s move toward renewables. The MCLV is our best bet for reaching Michigan’s newly elected Governor Gretchen Whitmer, our State Senate, and our State House members with bipartisan legislation that creates jobs and protects our air and water.

December 20:
$8,000 to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
This second donation of the 2018 to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy is in support of their Farmland Preservation, part of the lifeblood of Northern Michigan’s economy -- our farms.

December 21:
$3,000 to the Empire Area Community Center
This vital community center helps make our little part of Northern Michigan a better place by enhancing the quality of life of those living in the Empire area through the promotion of community activities and involvement.

December 22:
$7,500 to Buckets of Rain
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, Michigan, since 2012. 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 $35,000.

December 23:
$5,000 to 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 24:
$3,500 to Little Traverse Land Conservancy
The Little Traverse Conservancy works 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. We couldn't agree more with this mission!

December 25:
$9,000 to Leelanau Land Conservancy - Palmer Woods Project
Cherry Republic has donated to the Leelanau Conservancy for 27 years, and this $9,000 gift goes toward the completion of the Palmer Woods Mountain Bike Trail. A group of Cherry Republic employees had the priviledge of working on this trail for a couple of days earlier this fall, and while it's temporarily closed due to weather conditions, we are looking forward to many years of enjoyment on this scenic pathway.

December 26:
$6,000 to Leelanau Land Conservancy - Farmland Preservation
In addition to our gift of $9,000 towards the Leelanau Conservancy’s Palmer Woods project, today we pledge an additional $6,000 to its Farmland Protection programs. We are especially happy to partner with an organization whose offices have a large solar array that reduces their carbon footprint, which is also in line with our goal of getting all of Northern Michigan on the path to renewable energy!

December 27:
$14,500 to Utopia Foundation
The Traverse City-based Utopia Foundation supports organizations with a focus on early childhood development. Its micro-loans and micro enterprise programs in Africa and Central America have been helping to build up those communities for years, and we are proud to be a longtime supporter.

December 28:
$15,000 to Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology
We continue to send more money each year to Crosshatch -- formerly the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND) -- with a plan to help rural America thrive through art, farming, and ecology. This money supports basic operations and overhead, with $2,500 earmarked for their micro-loan program, which supports local farmers who’d like to enhance an existing farming venture or start a new one.

December 29:
$3,000 to Northport Energy Action Taskforce
Northport Energy members are a diverse group of farmers, engineers, economists, scientists, teachers, attorneys, public administrators, and energy experts - all coming together to pursue that same common interest in renewable energy. We share their passion for renewable energy and a clean environment!

December 30:
$3,000 to 350.org
350.org uses online campaigns and grassroots organizing to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. 350's network extends to 188 countries. We're excited to support this international effort to support renewable energy!

December 31:
$3,000 to Citizens' Climate Lobby, Grand Traverse Chapter
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization, and the Michigan chapters are working for the passage of Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy, the climate change solution economists and climate scientists alike say is the “best first-step” to preventing the worst impacts of a warming world.