Poverty is Unnecessary Fund Partners Donate $350,000 to Fund Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Sandy Mariscal25K Supplier Partners, Whole Foods Market Stores

Suppliers of Whole Foods Market fund microloans through Whole Planet Foundation to empower microentrepreneurs living in poverty with the opportunity to start or expand a small business, often home-based.  With a microcredit loan, an entrepreneur may create a food stand, expand her sewing business, buy stock for her neighborhood kiosk, or make improvements to a small-scale farm.  Profits from their businesses provide microentrepreneurs the opportunity to lift themselves and their family out of poverty.  

The History of Poverty is Unnecessary Day 

Every year, we celebrate Poverty Is Unnecessary Day to commemorate the Whole Foods Market Global 5% Day on October 25, 2005, when five percent of shopper purchases raised $525,000 for the seed money to launch Whole Planet Foundation.

Brands that donate $25,000 this year to fund microcredit are recognized as members of Whole Planet Foundation’s Poverty is Unnecessary Fund.  This year’s generous partners are Alaffia, Ben & Jerry’s, Cedar’s Foods, Health-Ade Kombucha, Lundberg Family Farms, Near East, Pact, Primal Kitchen, San Pellegrino, Schmidt’s, Shea Moisture, Sir Kensington’s, Tazo and The Republic of Tea. 

Our 2020 $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund 


Alaffia’s long-standing partnership with Whole Foods Market and Whole Planet Foundation epitomizes its commitment to alleviating poverty and empowering women through fair trade of indigenous resources and community empowerment projects. Alaffia was founded 17 years ago by Togolese native, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, and Prairie Rose Hyde, a U.S.-born Peace Corps volunteer. The organization’s clean and fair-trade beauty and grooming collections are made with handcrafted unrefined shea butter, African black soap and coconut oil using traditional methods by members of the women-led Alaffia Village Co-op in Togo, West Africa.  Alaffia also makes Good Soaptriple-milled, zero waste and gluten-free soap bars. A portion of Good Soap sales is donated to Whole Planet Foundation to fund microfinance programs, which helps further the empowerment of communities around the globe.   

Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects are its mission in action, funded by the sale of its products, including maternal health care, education, reforestation and regenerative agriculture. The organization is proudly the second largest employer outside of the Togolese government. Alaffia’s fair trade model ensures that co-op members are provided health insurance, paid time off and a living wage that is four times that of the average income in Togo. 

“These women have something to offer the whole world. And, once you feel that you matter, you can do so much more. Our relationship with Whole Foods Market and Whole Planet Foundation goes beyond a like-minded partnership—we’re family. We work together to lift up our communities and foster self-sufficiency among women,” says Tchala.   

Cedar’s Foods 

Cedar’s has been a proud supporter of Whole Planet Foundation since 2013. As a repeat $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund Member, Cedar’s has donated $88,750 to help fund 1,219 microloans and create 6,227 opportunities for microentrepreneurs to change their own lives.  

It is with great pride and honor that we annually partner with Whole Planet Foundation and help to alleviate poverty by empowering the world’s poorest people with microcredit. The Cedar’s family strives to make positive impacts on the welfare of the planet and actively invests in the community that helped it grow to a national brand. We thoroughly value our partnership with Whole Planet Foundation and thank them for allowing us to provide life-changing opportunities for others, just as they were provided to the founders of our company by our community, says Aimee TsakirellisVice President of Marketing. 


Health-Ade is proud to partner with Whole Planet Foundation in their mission to alleviate poverty around the globe through microcredit loans. Health-Ade believes that microcredit is a hand up, not a handout, to entrepreneurs around the globe. 

“This year we are donating $25,000 to Whole Planet Foundation to support the world’s poorest people as they start their own businesses. Poverty is unnecessary when we work together to empower people to change their own lives. One of Health-Ade’s main pillars, growth, is built upon the entrepreneurial spirit and we are ecstatic for the opportunity to support those building a better life for themselves,” says Vanessa Dew of Health-Ade Kombucha, pictured below, right, with fellow co-founders of Health-Ade Kombucha.  

Lundberg Family Farms 

Lundberg Family Farms was founded on a promise to nourish, conserve, and innovate for a healthier world. Poverty has no place in a healthy world and, when we take care of each other, we can cultivate opportunity instead. Lundberg Family Farms is proud to partner with Whole Planet Foundation so we can empower entrepreneurs to generate change for generations to come.   

“As a fourth-generation family business, we know firsthand that healthy businesses support healthy families—and healthy families are the foundation of a whole planet,” says Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms.   

Third- and fourth-generation family members Bryce, Jessica, Mark, Grant, Tim, and Anders stand atop Lundberg’s Drying & Storage facilities  

Near East 

The story of Near East’s Founder, Hannah Kalajian, is a familiar story to the Whole Planet Foundation team. Hannah’s story is much like the stories of the microcredit clients Near East helps support today through their support Whole Planet Foundation.  

Hannah Kalajian began serving sandwiches and home-cooked hot meals at a twelve-stool luncheonette counter adjoining the family grocery store. On Wednesdays, Hannah served her specialty: roasted chicken and Armenian-style rice pilaf. A tasty combination of rice, orzo pasta, and seasoning, the pilaf quickly became so popular that Hannah began to package it – filling bags of pilaf mix by hand in her home kitchen. Today the Near East® family of products includes more than 30 different flavors and varieties of rice pilafs, couscous, and other grain dishes, all with the same high-quality ingredients, care and handling that Hannah put into the first pilaf. 

Near East’s commitment this year will help fund 143 microloans for women entrepreneurs around the globe to start or develop a small business.   


Pact is a proud member of Whole Planet Foundation’s $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund since 2013. 

The Fair Trade Certified™ seal is the mark of rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. Fair Trade works closely on the ground with Pact’s factories to ensure that the people making Pact products work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities.  

Their support of Whole Planet Foundation is creating yet another way for people to empower themselves and their families. To date, Pact has helped fund 1,978 microloans. With a microloan, entrepreneurs living in poverty have the opportunity to start their own small business. With the profits, microentrepreneurs are able to support their families and invest in their communities.  

Pact’s Colleen Bale-Wright (Pictured 3rd from the left on an Oakland Impact visit with fellow supplier donors) was recently inducted into the Whole Planet Foundation Hall of Fame for her deep engagement and support of our mission.

“We are happy to support Whole Planet Foundation’s mission to empower the world’s poorest people with microcredit in places where Whole Foods Market sources products,” says Colleen Bale-Wright, Sr Director of National Accounts.  

Primal Kitchen 

Primal Kitchen joins the $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund this year, increasing their commitment to alleviate global poverty when it is needed the mostPrimal Kitchen also visited microcredit clients in South Africa in 2019 to learn first-hand from the clients they support how the power of microcredit has helped them transform their own lives.  

“As an entrepreneur and the founder of Primal Kitchen, I know the power of turning your passion into business. Primal Kitchen is proud to partner with Whole Planet Foundation, a foundation that gives small business owners the opportunity to expand, succeed, and live out their dream through microloans,” says Mark Sisson, Founder of Primal Kitchen.  

S. Pellegrino 

S. Pellegrino is a new $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund partner this year committed to funding 143 microloans for microentrepreneurs around the globe. They are dedicated to supporting local communities in need of water during these challenging times and are reaching global communities with economic empowerment through Whole Planet Foundation when it is needed the most.    

S. Pellegrino is proud to support Whole Planet Foundation in alleviating poverty worldwide. For more than 120 years, S. Pellegrino has supported the communities we serve, because when we lift each other up, great things can happen, says Yumi Clevenger-Lee, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Nestlé Waters North America.


Members of the Tazo team have joined Whole Planet Foundation on international impact visits to meet microfinance partners and their clients. On these visits, they learned how $1 can make a big difference in communities as funds are repaid and re-loaned over time.  

 “At TAZO, we are passionate about exploring and sourcing bold teas from around the world and are proud to partner with organizations like Whole Planet Foundation, who empower hardworking entrepreneurs globally,” says the Tazo Team.  

From October 14 – 27, $1 from the sale of Tazo teas in select Whole Foods Market stores will be donated to empower microentrepreneurs arounds the globe with microcredit. 

Members of the TAZO team visited South Africa with us in 2019 to meet microcredit clients of WPF partner Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF).

The Republic of Tea 

At The Republic of Tea we embody the ancient Chinese philosophy of Tashun — the Great Harmony — when people naturally care about the world and depend on each other for the well-being of the whole. It is a collective concern for others and aspiration to seek opportunities, initiatives and actions that will better the human condition as well as the planet. To provide good works, render goodwill.  

The Republic of Tea is a proud supporter of Whole Planet Foundation for many years because of how the efforts and achievements of Whole Planet Foundation align with our values to make the world better and lift people out of poverty,” says Kristina Tucker, Minister of Commerce and Enlightenment.

Kristina at the opening of a community kitchen as part of The Republic of Tea’s Women of Tea program – Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka   


Building off their existing Seventh Generation partnership at the $50,000 level, four additional Unilever brands have committed to alleviate global poverty with a $25,000 donation, including Ben & Jerry’sSir Kensington’sSchmidt’s Personal Careand Sundial (Shea Moisture/Nubian Heritage). 

Their collective donation of $100,000 will help fund 574 microloans and create 2,988 opportunities for microentrepreneurs and their families to lift themselves out of poverty.  

Beyond their financial contribution, Unilever team members have engaged with us to build new ways to create awareness about our mission. Whole Planet Foundation Hall of Famers, Drew Gostovich & John Fitzgerald (pictured below) took a deep dive into our mission by attending our supplier impact trips to in Miami and South Africa to meet microcredit clients and witness the power of microcredit.   

Ben & Jerry’s 

Ben & Jerry’s has a business model of linked prosperity. Their social mission is to work towards their goal to create positive change in the world from inside the pint out, starting with responsible sourcing and support of their suppliers. As a new $25,000 Poverty is Unnecessary Fund member, they extend that support in the form of microloans to women microentrepreneurs living in poverty all around the globe.  

Shea Moisture 

Shea Moisture is the legacy of Sofi Tucker, a pioneering mother of four and entrepreneur, who sold Shea Butter, African Black Soap and homemade beauty preparations in Sierra Leone in 1912. Through its support of Whole Planet Foundation, Shea Moisture is empowering women entrepreneurs all over the global living in poverty with the opportunity to start or expand their small businesses. 


Jaime Schmidt started making natural products in her Portland kitchen back in 2010. She felt frustrated with the lack of effective natural products in the marketplace, so she decided to make her own.  Today, this woman-founded company is paying it forward by helping fund microloans for the women microentrepreneurs around the globe.   

Sir Kensington’s  

Sir Kensington’s is a proud certified B Corporation, using business as a force for good, meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Through their support of Whole Planet Foundation, they are able to spread that force of good to 77 countries and 25 communities in the U.S. as they help provide access to microcredit for the world’s poorest people.  

From October 14– 27, 2020, $1 from the sale of $25,000 Fund Unilever products will be donated to fund microloans to empower the world’s poorest entrepreneurs in communities where Whole Foods Market sources products.