Suppliers Empowering People to Change Their Own Lives

daniel.vidalFoundation News, Supplier Partnerships

As one of Whole Foods Market’s non-profits, Whole Planet Foundation was created out of the desire to give back to the global communities where Whole Foods Market stores source products. The foundation funds microlending programs for the very poor in 50 countries, including the U.S., supporting more than a million people. During our annual Prosperity Campaign from now through March 31st, you can help us reach our goal of raising $4.1 million by donating at your local store or online.

To date, Whole Planet Foundation has committed $26.5 million to provide grants to microfinance institutions in our global communities. In order to fund the 200,000 microloans we have created since inception, we receive tremendous support from team members, customers, Whole Foods Market and suppliers to Whole Foods Market. Supplier Alliance for Microcredit partners each contribute $50,000 per year to provide project expansion funds for Whole Planet Foundation, and the combined generosity of these partners will create 3,400 new microloans that will give 20,000 people the opportunity for a new life! This alliance of like-minded companies planting seeds of prosperity around the globe includes Allegro Coffee Company, Back to Nature, Garden of Life, Earth’s Best, Ito En, Naked Juice, Seventh Generation, Stacy’s, and Whole Foods Market. To deepen their partnership and make an even greater impact, for a limited time this spring Allegro is selling three regional blend coffees, and $.30 from each purchase will support the foundation. That coffee is one of the reasons why Whole Planet Foundation has chosen to support these communities – to give back in a sustainable way by providing the very poor access to capital that is repaid and re-loaned again and again.

In 2011, Whole Planet Foundation traveled with Seventh Generation’s Susan Johnson and Valerie Brown from Stacy’s and Naked Juice to the Kerala province of India. Whole Foods Market sources cashews from this region, and we partner with Microcredit Initiative of Grameen who intends to expand access to credit to 4,500 women.  With a population of 1.17 billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world. Although the standard of living in India is projected to rise sharply in the next half-century, it currently battles high levels of poverty, illiteracy, persistent malnutrition, and environmental degradation.  Access to credit through microloans will enable impoverished individuals to create or expand home-based businesses to make a better life for themselves and their families. In 2010, we traveled to Peru with Jill Griffith from Naked Juice, Sreten Gaijic from Cascal and Joe Browne from Seventh Generation to meet clients of Whole Planet Foundation’s partner Pro Mujer, and in 2009, Seventh Generation’s Sheila Hollender joined our team in Costa Rica, along with Jennifer LaFontaine and Steven Polonowski from Naked Juice and Stacy’s, to meet clients of our partner Grameen Trust in Costa Rica. When our Supplier Alliance for Microcredit partners return home, they are powerful ambassadors, telling everyone they know how we can all empower the 3.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day to live a better life.  Read the stories of women who have benefitted from this supplier support.

Rona Tison, Senior Marketing Manager for ITO EN (North America) INC. said of their support, “ITO EN joined the Supplier Alliance for the simple reason that it is a tenet of ours to foster prosperous and healthy lives by offering healthful products, however this is not enough when one looks around and sees that there is more fostering to be done on so many levels.  As individuals, it would be wonderful if all those in a position to help would actually do so, and in our case leveraging the ability of our organization to contribute resources means that all of us at ITO EN are collectively doing far more than any one of us could possibly manage. The Supplier Alliance has provided a way for us to foster prosperous and healthy lives by channeling assistance directly to individuals, further enabling them to change their own lives. It is difficult to imagine doing anything more worthwhile.”

What’s really amazing about the support from the Supplier Alliance for Microcredit is that 100% of their donation makes a difference, as Whole Foods Market covers 100% of Whole Planet Foundation’s operating costs. Each and every dollar we raise goes to microlending programs in the field, and it is repaid and re-loaned in rural communities again and again. “It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to help support an organization that is doing so much good in the world,” said Kent Anderson of Back to Nature.  “To see the impact that Whole Planet Foundation is having across the globe helping individuals that truly want to help themselves is something that makes you want to smile and say ‘right on!’”

Visit Whole Foods Market stores during our Annual Prosperity Campaign to see special displays of these suppliers and to learn more about how their impact is making a difference. Please join us in appreciating all of our Supplier Alliance for Microcredit partners, and make sure to try the limited edition Allegro coffees before they’re gone!