Cherry Republic giving campaign highlights climate change, local housing

Photo: Bob Sutherland (second from right) and Sara Harding (left) hosted Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (third from right) and Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ Lisa Wozniak (right) on Aug. 17 at Cherry Republic.

From staff reports

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Cherry Republic’s 31 Days of Giving annual campaign, which runs through December. Throughout the past decade, the Glen Arbor-based company has provided 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,” the company wrote in a news release.

During the 2022 campaign, Cherry Republic plans to gift more than $300,000 to some of its favorite organizations, along with a few new ones. Citizens are encouraged to visit to follow along throughout the month to see how their patronage of Cherry Republic throughout the year makes this philanthropy possible.

As of press time (Dec. 14), the 31 Days of Giving campaign had supported 5Loaves2Fish, Leelanau Christian Neighbors, National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Chapter, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Grass River Natural Area, Leelanau Conservancy, Circle of Blue, Glen Lake Community Library, Glen Arbor Arts Center, Little Traverse Conservancy, Row-by-Row, FLOW, Leelanau Energy, Michigan Climate Action Network, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Great Lakes Business Network, and Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology.

We caught up with Sara Harding, Cherry Republic’s vice president of climate and community impact, to learn more about the giving campaign.


Glen Arbor Sun: Tell us about the original inspiration behind the 31 Days of Giving campaign, which launched 10 years ago.

Sara Harding: Bob (Sutherland) had the vision to have a more organized and celebratory method for Cherry Republic’s 1% giving that celebrated our non-profit partners. It was a time of year to honor our customers’ contributions to Cherry Republic and the work of our inspiring nonprofit partners.


Sun: How are organizations chosen to support? And how do they reflect Bob’s and your values?

Harding: Cherry Republic selects good people doing good things.


Sun: How has the initiative evolved, and how will it evolve in the years to come?

Harding: It has evolved with increased impact! Our customers’ continual support helps us give more every year. We will keep looking for ways to be more strategic and for places where we can take the lead and encourage others to make positive difference in our communities.


Sun: How do current events, or trends, impact the Cherry Republic supports—be they related to the environment, climate, food insecurity, housing, etc.?

Harding: The need has only increased to help support protecting the Great Lakes and all its resources. Also, we need to help our neighbors who have trouble getting food and a place to live.


Sun: Why has Cherry Republic chosen to focus on climate change and housing?

Harding: These are the most critical issues of our time, and we see the impact on Michigan and the world overall and want to make sure we are taking the lead to help.


Sun: Any specific, measurable impact Cherry Republic’s 31 Days of Giving Campaign had on any particular organization or cause?

Harding: You can probably ask the 30 + organizations:-) But we are excited to help again this year with the Michigan League of Conversation Voters, which has and continues to impact the Michigan environmental community significantly. We are grateful for their continued fight for the Great Lakes.


Cherry Republic Named 2022 Top Workplace by Detroit Free Press

Cherry Republic has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by The Detroit Free Press. The cherry retailer also received this honor in 2020.

The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“We are so humbled to receive this award,” said Todd Ciolek, Cherry Republic CEO. “When Bob Sutherland founded our company in 1989, it was with the intent to help our local farmers, but also to create jobs in northern Michigan. Since then, we’ve grown to six locations across the state, and we strive everyday to create a positive and fun atmosphere for our employees. The fact that this award is based on a survey of our own staff means so much to us and tells us we are reaching the initial goals we set forth to achieve.”

Cherry Republic was a winner in the Midsize Michigan Companies category and was among 200 total companies who received this coveted award.

This story was sponsored by State Savings Bank.