The Daily Michigan: 2 Nights at Heart Lake Resort Cottages!

Today on The Daily Michigan we have a very special giveaway – a two night weekend or mid-week stay for two at Heart Lake Resort Cottages from now through May 15th, 2012!!

The giveaway is subject to availability and some restrictions apply, but you heard it right – one lucky winner will receive an instant vacation to an outdoor paradise near Gaylord! Heart Lake Resort offers seven furnished and well kept cottages that range in size from 2-6 people. They’re located just south of Gaylord, just a mile or so from the I-75 expressway and food and fuel.

In wintertime, they’re close to downhill skiing and you can cross-country ski or snowmobile right from your door! In warmer weather, there’s fishing and boating of all kinds on a very clean, all-sports lake. They offer free use of canoes, kayak and rowboat with all kinds of amenities including fishing dock, kids playset, swim raft and bonfires with wood provided.

There’s tons to do in the area as well including ORV Trails, 17+ golf courses, fall color and fantastic mushroom hunting in the spring. For reservations or more information, give them a call at 989-732-5081 or visit their website. You can also click the link to the left to Like them on Facebook and see photos in their Facebook gallery!

Click here to sign up

Absolute Michigan Giveaway: Higher Grounds Trading Company

Absolute Michigan is committed to helping our readers get more out of Michigan with our regular giveaways of products and services from all kinds of Michigan businesses. It's free, fun and all you have to do to be eligible is to be on our email list!
If your business is interested in participating, you can get all the information right here.

Our BeansHigher Grounds Trading Co., was voted one of the top Michigan businesses to watch in 2010 and has been a big part of  getting the nonprofit On the Ground off the ground. On the Ground is involved in a variety of projects including the Chiapas Water Project, which brings clean drinking water to coffee growing regions in Mexico; the Run Across Ethiopia, which raises funds for Ethiopian education projects including the construction of schools in Ethiopian coffee-growing communities; and their latest endeavor – the Run Across Palestine. The Run is scheduled for February 2012 and will take place in olive growing centers of Palestine. Funds raised will support the purchasing and planting of thousands of olive trees and provide scholarships for the children of Palestinian olive farmers. Learn all about them and donate at the link above.

The projects of On the Ground share a common theme: supporting the farmers who supply fair-trade, gourmet goods by building infrastructure and capacity in their communities, and Higher Grounds is offering up some great gifts to celebrate the On the Ground’s projects:

  • Coffees for Change support the Chiapas Water Project, which was founded in 2005 after a group of local (Northern Michigan) residents visited Chiapas Mexico and witnessed the illness and poverty perpetuated by lack of access to potable water.
  • Seth & May’s “New Flower” CD was inspired and written as part of the The Run Across Ethiopia.  Seth and May  played in the schools, learned songs and dance moves from the children, learned Ethiopian scales and melodies from incredible ethio-jazz masters,  shared our music along the journey, sang for the runners, played for the people and ultimately wrote an entire album inspired by the experience.
  • Fair Trade Olive Oil benefits Palestinian olive farmers and celebrates the Run Across Palestine.
  • Finally, their Coffee Cards are made by the Michigan nonprofit Paperworks Studio which are produced by artists who have special needs and disadvantages.

All you need to do to enter is to be on our email list – sign up in the blue box above! Here’s a cool behind the scenes video of the recording of New Flower that you might enjoy!

Holiday Giving, Reconsidered

Ernst & Young fill that kettle by kmaz
Ernst & Young fill that kettle by kmaz

In a recent conversation about how we see need in Michigan, Rob Collier President of the Council of Michigan Foundations told us about several reasons to give charitably this year.  He said, “This is an important year to give and give big because the needs are so great.  Just as importantly, the Michigan state charitable tax credits are expiring at the end of December.  These credits are available to any Michigan resident.  On your donation you get a 50% tax credit, so if an individual gives $300 then they get a $150 tax credit back.  This encourages Michiganders to support the causes they care about in their communities while while getting something back on their State of Michigan tax returns.”

You can donate in each of these three buckets:

  • Endowment funds held by Community Foundations
  • Support for Food Banks or Homeless Shelters
  • Libraries, Public TV & Radio, Colleges and Universities
Find out more about the charitable tax credit from the Community Foundation of SE Michigan, and read about the end of Michigan’s tax break for charitable aid from the Freep.

While  the holiday season is a great time to share our love, good thoughts, and Michigan-made gifts with friends & family, choosing to make donations to charities in lieu of buying gifts could be a really great way to allocate some extra funds to non-profits that desperately need it. This time of year, much of people’s hard earned money is spent on frivolous bric-a-brac that they would never buy otherwise, so why not  instead make it a charitable gift?  The American Red Cross notes that nearly four in five people would rather have a charitable donation made in their honor than receive a gift they wouldn’t use, so shifting ourselves (and our communities)  towards more meaningful giving can really bring the joy & holiday spirit back!

To maximize the benefits;  give to a tax-deductible charity for Christmas AND make it local.  We’ve compiled a list of Michigan based charities to choose from. Local money circling around our communities only strengthens our economy, as well as providing the necessary funds needed by these organizations to grow and continue to serve our communities.  A local charity gift for Christmas!   It is perfect, really. Read on for some great Michigan charities, be sure to check out our Michigan nonprofit section and add ones we’ve missed in the comments!