Whole Foods Market’s(R) Whole Planet Foundation Raises More Than One Million Dollars With Prosperity Campaign to Empower Nearly 35,000 Individuals Through Micro-entrepreneurship

2008-07-17 15:42:00

  Whole Foods Market Arlington Store Raises More Than $25,000 of All Funds

                             Raised Companywide



    AUSTIN, Texas, July 17 /EMWNews/ -- Through Whole Foods Market's

Whole Planet Foundation Prosperity Campaign this year, shoppers provided

more than one million dollars in donations that will allow nearly 7,000

individuals in the developing world a chance to start or expand a small

business through microlending programs.



    The funds were donated by shoppers through $2, $5 and $10 contributions

given at the registers during the Company's month-long Prosperity Campaign

held in all U.S.-based Whole Foods Market stores. Microlending programs

supported by the Whole Planet Foundation are implemented by Nobel Laureate

Muhammad Yunus's organization Grameen Trust and other microfinance

institutions such as Pro Mujer and Adelante Foundation.



    "These funds will enable nearly 7,000 individuals to start or expand a

small business and considering that a head of household in the developing

world typically supports an extended family of five, these funds will

indirectly help over 35,000 individuals in the developing world," said

Philip Sansone, Executive Director of Whole Planet Foundation. "We are

thrilled at the generosity and understanding of Whole Foods Market shoppers

to help plant these seeds of economic prosperity."



    While each Whole Foods Market store gives on a local level to local

charities, Whole Planet Foundation is exclusively focused on globally

supporting microlending programs in the developing world. To date, the

foundation is committed to programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,

Nicaragua, Indonesia, East Timor and India.



    More than $25,000 of the Campaign funds raised were raised at the

Arlington, Virginia Whole Foods Market store -- a region with ethnically

diverse clientele and many first generation immigrants. One hundred percent

of all funds raised by Whole Planet Foundation are directed exclusively to

microlending programs as Whole Foods Market covers all of the operating

costs of the Foundation.



    "The Arlington community is home to a selfless, caring, extraordinarily

diverse and informed population," said Jean-Michel Bartolo, Store Team

Leader for the Arlington Whole Foods Market store. "Their generosity

demonstrates their commitment to a global community and the mission of

microlending."



    The small businesses supported by microlending generate income,

improving the lives of individuals in tangible ways by helping to provide

for basic needs such as food for a balanced diet, building better roofs to

keep out the cold and allowing children to go to school. The businesses

often expand to employ family members and neighbors and help create a more

stable economic path for impoverished families.



    About Whole Planet Foundation(R)



    Whole Planet Foundation's mission is to create economic partnerships

with the poor in those developing-world communities that supply Whole Foods

Market stores with product. The mission is achieved through innovative

assistance for entrepreneurship, including direct microcredit loans and

tangible support for other community partnership projects. Whole Planet

Foundation represents a significant expansion of Whole Foods Market's

mission to actively participate in our global communities. Whole Foods

Market gives to local causes everywhere we have stores through store

leadership. The creation of this foundation directly connects Whole Foods

Market customers and Team Members to the villages in developing countries

that supply us with products. From the beginning, entrepreneurial spirit

has been a driving force behind Whole Foods Market's success. In keeping

with this spirit, Whole Planet Foundation is dedicated to helping families

escape poverty by providing them with access to capital which they can use

to start their own small businesses.




Contacts: Donnell Ocker Donnell.ocker@wholeplanetfoundation.org 512.542.0852

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