Helping Their Hometown: The Sherman Family

The Sherman brothers – Bill, Bob and Ted-- moved to East Jordan more than 60 years ago when their parents purchased an orchard in East Jordan. Over the years, the family business grew to include more orchards and processing facilities, and eventually becoming Burnette Foods. The company -- the largest family-owned food processor of its type in the state -- now distributes Michigan cherries, apples, and other local fruits and various vegetables all over the country.

While their foods are available far and wide, the Shermans continue to make their homes in Charlevoix County, where they are keenly interested in seeing their hometown prosper.  “From the outset, we wanted to make a difference right here in East Jordan,” explains Bill, reflecting on the motivation for working with the Community Foundation.  Each brother made a gift of cash to begin their family's donor advised fund in 1996.  Since then, the Sherman Family Fund has supported a variety of projects to preserve the Jordan River, encourage local students, beautify and improve East Jordan, and more.

The Community Foundation has been a capable partner for the Sherman Family.  Bob Sherman explains: "There are many benefits to giving this way, not the least of which is the tax advantage. Setting up a fund is very easy, and you have the opportunity to recommend just where you want your charitable dollars to go.”   In 2000, Bob shared that “we established this fund so our kids could learn about philanthropy and participate... and we hope someday they'll continue our example."  Nearly twenty years later, that hope has come to fruition.  Bob’s daughter Jenny now acts as the family’s fund representative.  Jenny recommends grants to continue the good work of the Fund on behalf of her parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  “And we’re getting their children involved too,” says Ted with a smile.  Families like the Shermans are making a difference close to home through the Community Foundation.