Whole Planet Foundation Launches Campaign to Alleviate Global Poverty

Partners Commit $1.05 Million for Microcredit
Feb 22, 2019 10:00 AM ET
Press Release

On Friday, March 1, Whole Planet Foundation launches its Annual Prosperity Campaign to alleviate poverty around the globe for the world’s poorest people – mostly women – living in communities where Whole Foods Market sources products. This year’s campaign goal is to raise $4 million to increase the foundation’s current reach of 75 countries and 17 U.S. cities.

“Shoppers rally to support women entrepreneurs each year during the Annual Prosperity Campaign. Whole Foods Market customers have the opportunity to give at the registers each time they shop, funding the future opportunity for a woman who dreams of running her own small business so that she and her family can escape generational poverty,” said Joy Stoddard, Whole Planet Foundation development and outreach director. “A microcredit loan unleashes the capacity of a woman living in poverty to put her smarts and industrious nature to work.  She can buy inventory in bulk, purchase a piece of equipment to create efficiencies or add some shelves to her market stall, for the chance to make a profit. This campaign enables us all to contribute where we live and abroad to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the United States and 74 other countries around the globe.” 

Because Whole Foods Market covers the foundation’s operational costs, 100 percent of every donation benefits microcredit clients.

The average first microloan size supported by Whole Planet Foundation is $178 and although the loans do not require a formal contract or collateral, the current average repayment rate across microfinance projects funded by Whole Planet Foundation is 97%. The foundation funds microcredit loans through a network of vetted microfinance partners who create systems that support an entrepreneur to repay the loan and secure subsequent, larger loans, thereby lifting up families and communities over time.

For example, Solange is a microcredit client of Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partner Umutanguha Microfinance in Rwanda.  Solange borrows 200,000 Rwandan Francs (about $230) in business capital through her village saving and loan group and serves as the group’s president, learning leadership skills to support the 30 members. In 2015, Solange used her initial loans from Umutanguha Microfinance to construct a physical space for her shop and she has used subsequent loans to increase her inventory and sell more items in her community.  She is currently managing her 7th loan and can make $57 in sales on a good day. In the future she hopes to add more food staples in bulk to the shop like beans, sorghum and maize. This approach is also successful in the United States, where supportive systems are in place for microentrepreneurs who run businesses including prepared foods, flower stands, artisan goods, mobile nail salons, and jewelry, shoes and clothing sales.

“In fifteen years, we have funded 3.3 million microloans providing 17 million opportunities for the world’s poorest people to live a better life through entrepreneurship,” said Philip Sansone, Whole Planet Foundation president and executive director. “This work is made possible by generous shoppers and supplier donors.”

Amplifying this year’s Prosperity Campaign, suppliers to Whole Foods Market are donating $1.05 million to fund 31,700 opportunities for low-income entrepreneurs around the world to change their own lives.  Suppliers donating $100,000 each include Allegro Coffee Company, Frontier Co-op, Naked Juice, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and So Delicious. Suppliers donating $50,000 each include Chobani, Hain Celestial, High Brew Coffee, Hiball Energy, Kevita, Numi Organic Tea, RenewLife, Sambazon, Seventh Generation, Traditional Medicinals and Weleda.  Watch this video to hear from suppliers during their field visit to Nepal.

Learn more about the transformative power of microcredit at Whole Planet Foundation, and join the Prosperity Campaign in Whole Foods Market stores or online to fund the future of women entrepreneurs worldwide.