Submitted by Whole Foods Market Foundations
October marks the annual celebration of the funding of Whole Planet Foundation. It is a time to appreciate and reflect on the mission milestones we have reached together, and a time to recalibrate and identify a path forward to continue the work we set out to do. Our organization manifested from Whole Foods Market’s core value to support the global community where the company sources products and we were founded on a desire to address one of humanity’s most pervasive issues: global poverty. After 18 years of providing our implementing partners with crucial support, we have seen firsthand tha our funds empower vulnerable people to meet their basic needs and become more resilient through opportunities that improve their economic well-being. Since inception, we have aimed to accomplish this mission in a sustainable way, by funding business capital for the world’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs. The microloans that we fund enable entrepreneurs to start or develop small, often home-based businesses in hopes that the profits will help support their families and possibly employ others in their communities.
Over the years, our Programs Team of microfinance subject matter experts based around the world, have remained vigilant and proactive. They monitor and evaluate projects and keep their finger on the pulse of an everchanging landscape so we can respond effectively to the needs of the communities we serve and implement strategies that continue to align with Whole Foods Market’s purpose to nourish people and the planet. Statistics show that for three decades the number of people living in extreme poverty was declining but that progress was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic Before the pandemic 635 million people were projected to live in extreme poverty in 2020, after the onset of the pandemic the projected number of poor increased to 732 million. At the end of 2022, post-pandemic visits with implementing partners revealed key challenges, such as the rising cost of living, food insecurity, disruptions in supply chain, and shortages of essentials tools, like fertilizer, all leading to greater volatility for people living in poverty.
As we continue to find our new normal, it is a great time to set new goals and identify key focus areas that will help guide how we can best continue to support global communities to meet their basic needs and strengthen resiliency.
“Whole Planet Foundation believes everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy and prosperous life. We support collaborative partnerships that empower individuals, families, and communities with access to economic opportunity for the world’s most vulnerable”, says Daniel Zoltani, Whole Planet Foundation’s Interim Executive Director.
Whole Planet Foundation is grateful to our donors and pleased to announce our multiyear investment strategy to empower an additional 300,000 people around the world.
Through our network of both existing and new implementing partners, our focus will continue to be centered around increasing access for the world’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs:
We invite everyone to join us in this next leg of our mission and support our new Whole Planet Foundation Funds to reach additional people with the chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Resilient Farmer Fund
This fund aims to support 70,000 smallholder farmers by offering farming tools and services that help increase crop production and navigate weather shocks that may disrupt their livelihoods. Like Gloribel, a microcredit client of Whole Planet Foundation partner Acceso in El Salvador where Whole Foods Market sources coffee. Acceso is a social enterprise in El Salvador that increased Gloribel’s income by lending her $350 worth of tomato seedlings and greenhouse materials and then bought her harvest. They then sold her produce to local store partners of Acceso.
Economic Opportunity Fund
The goal of this fund is to help provide 234,000 business microloans to people who do not have access to banks or financial institutions, which could include widows, refugees, and people in remote communities. Like Widya in Sri Lanka, who accessed a $400 loan from BMIC to grow her flower business. Her business is growing, and she is on track to access and additional loan to invest in her business growth. BMIC is Whole Planet Foundation's partner in Sri Lanka where Whole Foods Market sources coconut oil.
Food Security Fund
This fund aims to move 65,000 women out of extreme poverty. The World Bank has defined extreme poverty as people living on less than $2.15 a day, like Adama from Senegal, who cultivates peanuts and hibiscus using inputs provided by Whole Planet Foundation’s microfinance partner myAgro. With the money that she has earned from previous harvests, she has contributed to food purchases for the household. She has also built her own house within the larger family compound. Whole Foods Market sources hibiscus juice from Senegal.
Energy & Water Fund
This fund will increase access to 10,000 essential goods like solar home kits, water filters and fuel-efficient cookstoves. For 8 cents a day, entrepreneurs like Perline, a client of Jiro-Ve in Madagascar, is able to rent a solar lantern which allows her to keep her vegetable stall open into the night and allows her children to continue their studies in the evening. Whole Foods Market sources chocolate from Madagascar.
By 2030 we hope to have 300,000 more client profiles like these to share, thanks to your generosity. This month we invite you to join us in celebrating our annual impact on Wednesday, October 25 via our Party With A Purpose Annual Benefit and Auction. This event will take place both online and in-person in Austin, Texas. If you are local to Austin, please join us from 4-7pm on the Whole Foods Market Lamar rooftop for a gathering of stakeholders as we celebrate our impact with delicious food and beverage, music, cultural performance, onsite auctions and more. Not in Austin? Join us online from October 25- 29 to bid on global auction items in support of our mission. Beyond this celebration, we invite you to stay connected via our e-newsletter, Instagram, and Facebook page. For more information on the work we do, and how we do it, visit wholeplanetfoundation.org.
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