Whole Planet Foundation® Now Funding First Domestic Microlending Program Dedicated to Women

Posted on 03/21/2014 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

Whole Planet Foundation has committed more than $5 million to fight poverty in the U.S. through its partner, Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization that offers microloans, training and support to help women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. The money will help Grameen America launch a new microlending branch in Austin, and will support existing programs in six metro areas: New York, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Charlotte, N.C., Omaha, Neb. and Indianapolis.

To date, Whole Planet Foundation has committed more than $48 million for microcredit projects throughout 59 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas.

With no collateral or credit history required, microloans offer many low-income women their first chance to gain financial independence by starting or expanding their own business. Prosperity from their food carts, at-home bakeries and flower shops are helping women provide healthy meals, housing and education for themselves and their children. The average first loan size is $1,264 in the U.S. and $177 in the developing world.

Through March 31, shoppers can make a difference by participating in hundreds of fundraising events at Whole Foods Market® – from charity races and tasting events to garage sales and fashion shows – all as part of the foundation’s nationwide Prosperity Campaign. Shoppers can also donate at store checkouts or online at wholeplanetfoundation.org. Through these efforts, the foundation aims to raise $7 million for microlending projects in just five weeks.