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Whole Planet Foundation Empowers Poor Through Microcredit

Self-employed poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America get much needed funds and support to build sustainable businesses.

Many people believe that locally owned, small businesses are the backbone of a sustainable global economy.  To that end, Whole Foods Market has created the Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit which helps struggling small business owners in developing nations grow their business in a sustainable way.

According to Whole Foods Market, the Whole Planet Foundation was born out of a desire to give something back to the world community while focusing on the persistent problem of world poverty and hunger.

whole planet logo

The foundation was first developed by Whole Foods Market in partnership with Professor Muhammad Yunus, a recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Yunus is the  founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, and a pioneer of microcredit, which has proven a successful tool for empowering the poor.

woman's faceThrough microfinance institutions like Grameen Bank, the Whole Planet Foundation provides grants, loans and other types of support and assistance to those who are self-employed, yet still live in poverty.  These small loans – usually $200 or less – require no collateral or contract, and are offered to the poorest of the poor.  Many of the loans focus on women, who struggle to finance projects that will generate income.

The foundation operates primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where Whole Foods Market sources many of the products carried in its stores.  The foundation gives particular priority to projects that can demonstrate financial leverage and financial sustainability over time.

whole foods market store frontThe creation of The Whole Planet Foundation represents a significant expansion of the Whole Foods Market mission to incorporate active community involvement into their business. The foundation directly connects Whole Foods Market customers and employees to the villages that supply products to local stores. The company hopes the establishment of these community partnerships will, over time, build economic well being where source products are gathered.  And that’s a good step toward a sustainable global economy.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


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