Benita’s Journey

Benita started borrowing from WPF microfinance partner Fonkoze in 2008. She first approached Fonkoze for a small loan to help her buy the ingredients for pastries she sold out of a basket perched on her head. With hard work and long hours, along with a few more microloans from Fonkoze, Benita was able to build a store in her front yard, located off the main road in her village. With the help of her children, Benita runs the store and also keeps her pastry business going. She uses the profits from her business to buy livestock, a valuable asset she can pass on to her children when they marry.

As I reflect upon 2018, I am proud of Whole Planet Foundation’s ability to recognize and invest in innovation. But just as much so, I am proud of our unwavering focus on executing our mission in the most effective way possible — by continuing to fund the proven methodology of microcredit as a pathway out of poverty.

With your support, we funded 41 microcredit projects in 32 countries during 2018, including four additional new countries: Egypt, Liberia, Guinea and Ukraine. In the third quarter of the year, we reached a significant milestone, funding our 100th microfinance partner Wakili Microfinance in Guinea. The average loan size decreased to $178 USD, and we continue to support organizations seeking to move down-market to serve the world’s poorest people.

When a microentrepreneur gains access to capital and uses it to grow her business, her whole family benefits. Because of the ripple effect of microcredit, we created 3,423,000 opportunities for a better life in 2018 alone.

I hope you’ll download and read our latest annual report to become better acquainted with our mission.


Philip Sansone, President and Executive Director

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Our Approach to Partnership and Core Values

Whole Planet Foundation provides grants and no-interest local currency loans to microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, who in turn operate and expand microcredit programs as a tool to alleviate poverty. We seek to support institutions that fit with our core values via their methods of providing entry level credit to the very poor.

Strong Relationships Create Success

Whole Planet Foundation typically approves 1-3 year grant projects to qualified microfinance institutions after approval from our board. Annual funding is dependent upon the partner’s success in meeting shared goals related to key performance indicators (KPIs). This graphic shows the typical lifecycle of how we make sure funds are reaching the people who need it most. Click to enlarge.

“Having a field team, made up of regional (Asia, Africa, Americas) microfinance experts based around the world sets us apart. Their in-depth knowledge, coupled with ever-evolving tools and systems developed to manage a global portfolio, has led to the programmatic success of the Foundation to identify and support the strongest pro-poor microfinance institutions in the industry.”

– Daniel Zoltani, Global Programs Director

Follow the field team on our blog

We remain focused on entrepreneurship to alleviate poverty, while expanding our horizon in response to the evolution in microfinance services for the poor. These are five approaches we support through our microfinance partners. The models of microfinance illustrated below sometimes overlap.

A New Model of Microfinance: Targeting the Ultra Poor

Ultra-poor/graduation programs differ from traditional microfinance in that they aim to reach the poorest of the poor — those who may not be able to take on debt or are too remote for microfinance, have no assets and lack basic needs, like housing, sanitation or food security. Although the ultra-poor/graduation programs we support may differ slightly, most have a structure similar to the one illustrated below.