Trailblazer Award

Each year for the last several years, Whole Planet Foundation honors a trailblazer advocate who supports our mission and fosters their own. See below for a list of our Trailblazer Award winners throughout the years.


Over the last several years, Whole Planet Foundation has honored annually a trailblazer advocate who has gone above and beyond to support our mission as they foster their own. This year, we are delighted to award this honor to two supplier donors for their continuous support over the years and wonderful mission champions. Join us in celebrating this year’s honorees Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and Seventh Generation.

Papyrus-Recycled Greetings

Papyrus-Recycle Greetings set the bar for top supplier donorship to Whole Planet Foundation! Almost a decade ago, the Papyrus-Recycle Greetings Team walked into our office and presented Whole Planet Foundation with a $100,000 check and expressed their desire to be a top donor for the year. This paved the way for Whole Planet Foundation’s $100,000 Fund and inspired other brands to meet them at this level of support. The Papyrus-Recycle Greetings team has been wonderful to work with over the years, going above and beyond to engage in our programming. From event sponsorships, like Presenting Sponsorship of our 2022 Party With A Purpose, to product donation of beautiful greeting cards and paper party products, they are always eager to participate and support. The Papyrus-Recycle Greetings team has joined Whole Planet Foundation in the field to visit projects in Togo, Paraguay, Guatemala, Nepal, and many in the United States including Austin, Boston, Indianapolis, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and San Diego.

We are proud to give back and be part of the work to help alleviate poverty, not only in the United States but across the globe. Eight years ago, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings was the founding partner of the Whole Planet Foundation $100,000 Donor Level, and we have helped pave the way for other supplier partners to get involved in a meaningful way. We are excited to continue that partnership,” said Sara Sadaghiani, Regional Vice President, Sales. “Our associates believe in making the world a more thoughtful and caring place and collaborating with the Whole Planet Foundation helps us extend our impact to communities everywhere.”

Seventh Generation

Whole Planet Foundation is thrilled to announce Seventh Generation as a 2022 Trailblazer Award recipient. Seventh Generation has been a proud supporter since 2008. To date, they have donated over $650,000 to help fund microloans all over the globe. As a Supplier Alliance for Microcredit founding member, they paved the way for our brand supporters to join Whole Planet Foundation in our mission, inspiring supplier contributions which have now crossed $17 million. The Seventh Generation team has joined us in the field to witness microcredit in Costa Rica, India, Paraguay, South Africa, Thailand, Nepal, and various cities in the United States. They have met microcredit clients whose dreams of starting or expanding their businesses were just a microloan away. Through deep partnership with our microfinance partners, Seventh Generation has continued to fund microcredit which aligns with their own mission to transform the world into a healthy, sustainable, and equitable place for the next seven generations—and beyond. Further to monetary support, the Seventh-Generation team has been passionate about supporting Whole Planet Foundation throughout the years, and we’ve been so grateful to work with their team. As a longtime $50,000 annual supporter, they are always excited to discuss new ways to work together, are ready to pilot new donor programs, and are happy to provide products to help enhance our special activations. Through their efforts to visit microcredit clients around the globe, and through content like videos and landing pages that tell the story of these experiences, Seventh Generation and its parent company, Unilever are happy to tell the story of our work together and continue to deepen our collective mission to empower people living in poverty around the globe.

The partnership we have with the Whole Planet Foundation is sacred. For over 12 years we have prioritized the mission, and the beneficiaries of the program are what is most important to us. At Seventh Generation, our mission is to make the world a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable place. Through Whole Planet Foundation, this commitment truly comes to life!” says Drew Gostovich, Unilever, Whole Foods Market Team Leader.

We were excited to present these awards to both recipients at our 2022 Party With A Purpose Annual Auction and Benefit on Friday, October 21, 2022, on the rooftop of the Whole Foods Market Lamar store in Austin, Texas. On behalf of our Whole Planet Foundation team, we thank Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and Seventh Generation for supporting our mission in numerous meaningful ways over the years and have paved the way for others to provide meaningful support as they have.

2021 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Pact has been a proud supporter of Whole Planet Foundation since 2014 and has generously donated $125,000 to alleviate poverty by funding 2,450 microloans. These loans are creating 2,500 opportunities for entrepreneurs and their family members to lift themselves out of poverty through small businesses, often home-based. Pact was chosen as this year’s recipient for their years of generosity and gorgeous product donations, but also for going above and beyond to engage advocates in the Foundation’s mission.

Pact sponsored the 2019-2020 Holiday Bazaar, 2020 Virtual 5K, and 2020 Party with a Purpose Online Auction, and are on board once again as a sponsor of our 2021 Party with a Purpose Online Auction and 2021 Holiday Bazaar, helping Whole Planet Foundation celebrate 16 years of alleviating poverty with impact.

“Pact continues to be extremely proud to collaborate and partner with Whole Planet Foundation and its mission,” says the Pact Team.

In 2019, Pact’s Senior Director of National Accounts Colleen Bale-Wright (pictured above with this year's Trailblazer Award and below, back row, third from left) met microcredit clients funded by Whole Planet Foundation in the Oakland, California area to get a first-hand look at the opportunities that their generosity helps create.


“I was so fortunate to be invited to participate in the Whole Planet Foundation 2019 Domestic Microfinance Impact Visit in Oakland. It was an amazing, inspirational, fulfilling day getting to see firsthand how our supporting Whole Planet Foundation is impacting the lives of these women. Kudos to the entire Whole Planet Foundation Team!” says Colleen of Pact.

Because microcredit loans are repaid, then re-loaned again, the impact of Pact’s generosity has been tremendous. Due to the regenerative nature of microcredit, the approximate value of loans supported by Pact is $539,237.

2020 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Shoes for Crews has been a proud supporter of Whole Planet Foundation since 2009 and has generously donated over $220,000 to help alleviate poverty. For every pair of slip resistant shoes that Whole Foods Market Team Members buy through Shoes for Crews, $1 is donated to Whole Planet Foundation. Shoes for Crews was chosen as this year’s trailblazer recipient not only for their generous giving, but also for going above and beyond to engage Whole Foods Market Team Members. 

In 2019, Shoes for Crews marketing leadership met microcredit clients of Grameen America in the Miami area to get a first-hand look at the opportunities that their generosity helps create. This led to a series of promotions including a 2019 branded shoelace campaign where the company donated the equivalent of the average first microloan in the name of five Team Members. Then in 2020 they doubled their usual donation on March 8 & 9 in honor of International Women’s Day. They sponsored our Virtual 5K in June 2020 and are on board once again as a sponsor of our Party with a Purpose Online Auction, helping us celebrate 15 years of alleviating poverty.

“Through our alignment and collective efforts with Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Foods Market’s Asset Protection team, we are able to ensure Team Member Safety and mitigate global poverty through microcredit loans, improving people’s lives all around the world. Shoes For Crews is honored and extremely proud to share this special relationship with Whole Planet Foundation. We are humbled and grateful for the opportunity and the award,” says Chris Hamilton, Vice President of Sales, Shoes for Crews

Because microcredit loans are repaid at a 95% rate, then re-loaned again, the impact of Shoes for Crews’ generosity has been tremendous. Due to this cyclical nature of microcredit, the approximate value of loans supported by Shoes for Crews is over $707,000. Whole Planet Foundation estimates that as of September 2020, 2,825 microloans have been funded by Shoes for Crews, creating over 15,400 opportunities for entrepreneurs and their family members.

Chris Hamilton (top left) and Carol McCoy (top right) receive the Trailblazer award via Zoom in our Party with a Purpose Online Auction event program. Watch the video on YouTube.

2019 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Whole Planet Foundation honored the Frontier Co-op Well Earth sourcing program as its 2019 Trailblazer. The missions of Whole Planet Foundation and Frontier Co-op align perfectly around one central idea -- empowering people. In 2007, Frontier Co-op created their Well Earth sourcing program not only to ensure the sustainability of its products, but to empower its growers.

“We work directly with our Well Earth growers right at the source, often over many years, to empower them with a wide range of resources that will secure the long-term stability of their farms -- and their communities,” said Cole Daily, Executive Vice President of Operations at Frontier Co-op.

Establishing these long-term relationships in often remote areas helps blaze the trail for Whole Planet Foundation to alleviate poverty in communities through microcredit. Since 2014, Frontier Co-op has worked with Whole Planet Foundation, donating $565,001 to fund 9,350 microloans and create 50,302 opportunities for microentrepreneuers to flourish. 

2018 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Traditional Medicinals was selected by our Whole Planet Foundation team to receive the 2018 Whole Planet Foundation Trailblazer award, for their community programs in Rajasthan, India to empower women and girls. Traditional Medicinals has donated $355,949 to fund 7,865 microloans and create 42,656 opportunities for entrepreneurs and their families to lift themselves out of poverty to date.

Since 2016, Traditional Medicinals has implemented projects in India by partnering with WomenServe, the Sonoma-county, CA based non-profit. WomenServe's mission is to unlock the potential of women and girls in Western Rajasthan by increasing access to water, health and hygiene, economic empowerment, and education. To date, Traditional Medicinals and WomenServe have impacted over 25,000 lives. “When she has water, she has the opportunity to go to school, live an empowered life, and #RaiseHerVoice.” - Nioma Sadler, WomenServe Founder/President

Darrick Blinoff and Nioma Sadler of Traditional Medicinals receive the 2018 Trailblazer Award at the second annual Party with a Purpose in Austin, Texas.

2017 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Alaffia’s partnership with Whole Foods Market and Whole Planet Foundation harkens back to a deep core value of co-founder and CEO, Olowo-n’djo Tchala. In sixth grade, Olowo-n’djo had to leave school to support his family in Togo, West Africa.

According to Olowo-d’djo, “As hard as it was not to be able to go to school, I understood the responsibility I had to my family. This translates to Alaffia when we refer to all who are part of our mission as ‘our family.’ A family looks out for one another. And, my co-founder, Rose, and I believe that alleviating global poverty and gender inequality needs to be pursued together to break the cycle of generational poverty in our communities. This core value, which I learned at a young age, is integral to all we do.”

Alaffia contributes a portion of Good Soap sales to Whole Planet Foundation to fund microfinance programs, which help fight poverty in West Africa and around the globe. Proceeds from the sales of Good Soap are donated by Alaffia to its education empowerment project to fund the construction of one kindergarten each year in Togo. Since 2014, with Whole Foods Market, six kindergartens have been built. Alaffia also hosts Whole Foods Market Team Member Volunteers in Togo.

Olowon-d'jo at the Alaffia co-op.

2016 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Optimist is a non-profit production company that creates films with impact. 

Their first feature film Living on One Dollar, was distributed globally by Netflix. The film takes a deep dive into extreme poverty in Guatemala through the experience of the filmmakers, who lived on $1 a day themselves to illustrate the power of microcredit and entrepreneurship. The film has raised over $385,000 for Whole Planet Foundation and an additional $700,000 for the nonprofit organization Mayan Families.

Since releasing Living on One Dollar, the team at Optimist have released two other feature documentaries, 15+ short films and series, and virtual reality films. In 2020, they released  Five Years North and The Undocumented Lawyer. Join them at @Optimist across social media to see the films.