Everyone knows that Whole Foods is the absolute king of the organic food industry. While it does receive a good amount of criticism and is by no means perfect, I am a fan of the company.
And it is not just me who appreciates Whole Foods. When you go to Natural Products Expo West or Natural Products Expo East, the two most important trade shows in the organic industry, one of the first things that small organic food companies tell you is how many Whole Foods’ stores they are in.
Quite simply, it is a benchmark of their progress and establishes immediate credibility.
Yet, one aspect of Whole Foods that gets completely overlooked is the fantastic work it does with its Whole Planet Foundation.
The basis of the Whole Planet Foundation is centered around microlending, a model that Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, co-recipients of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, pioneered.
Whole Planet Foundation partners with different organizations in countries around the world, who then administer small loans in their local communities.
Here are some interesting statistics about the Whole Planet Foundation:
– Since inception in 2005, Whole Planet Foundation has empowered more than 161,100 poor entrepreneurs in 42 countries with a chance to lift themselves out of poverty through microcredit. A full list of the countries supported can be found HERE.
– In just six years, the Foundation has funded more than $13 million and committed more than $22.5 million in microlending programs, positively impacting more than 965,000 people worldwide.
– Percentage of female microcredit clients: 92%
– Average loan size in the developing world: $244
– Loan repayment rate: 97%
– Typical microcredit entrepreneurs are involved with neighborhood stores, weaving, sewing, small-scale agriculture, pottery, artisan goods, prepared foods, and raising chickens, pigs and cows.
Additionally, employees of Whole Foods have donated more than $2.4 million dollars to the Foundation through ongoing paycheck deductions.
And more than 120 employees have volunteered in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru and Costa Rica where they have taught literacy skills to school children, provided daily meals, built stoves for families, planted trees, and visited Whole Planet Foundation microcredit clients.
I applaud the Whole Planet Foundation for improving the lives of thousands of people in some of the world’s poorest countries and giving badly-needed capital to hard-working entrepreneurs who would otherwise never receive it.
Furthermore, the Foundation is doing it very out of the public eye.
Thank you so much Whole Planet Foundation for your fantastic work!