Whole Foods Market once again will help fund microfinance organizations and microcredit loans to help alleviate poverty in its sourcing regions around the world.
On March 1, the Austin, Texas-based natural grocer’s Whole Planet Foundation is launching its 12th Prosperity Campaign, with the goal of raising $3.2 million during the month to fund the loans, increasing the foundation’s current reach of 15 U.S. cities and 69 countries. The organization focuses on women in the developing world, where small loans can help entrepreneurs create a better life.
Whole Foods shoppers can get involved by making donations at store checkouts or online. Because the retailer covers all of the foundation’s operational costs, 100 percent of every dollar donated directly supports foundation programs.
As part of this year’s campaign, six Whole Foods supplier partners have pledged to donate $100,000 each, the equivalent of roughly 535 microcredit loans. Thirteen suppliers have each pledged $50,000, the equivalent of about 265 microcredit loans.
Outside the United States, the average first loan is $187 and doesn’t require a formal contract or collateral. The microloans funded through the foundation provide impoverished entrepreneurs with access to credit to create or expand home-based businesses to generate income for their families.
When these funds are repaid, they remain in the community to generate additional loans. Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partners around the globe have a 97 percent repayment rate.
“The Prosperity Campaign is such an integral part of our work, not only because of the money we are able to raise, but because of the connections we make with Whole Foods Market customers who care about alleviating poverty,” said Joy Stoddard, Whole Planet Foundation development and outreach director. “A loan as small as $35 can change someone’s life, and this campaign allows us all to contribute.”