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March 18, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas—The Whole Planet Foundation Supplier Alliance for Microcredit is a new coalition of natural foods companies supporting the financial endeavors of the Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit created by Whole Foods Market. The Alliance, which includes Allegro Coffee Co., Back to Nature, Balance Bar, the Hain Celestial Group, Ito En, Naked Juice, New Chapter, Seventh Generation and Stacy’s, pledged $1.05 million over three years to support microlending programs in developing countries, starting with projects in Indonesia and Costa Rica. The funds are projected to support more than 5,000 individuals—primarily women—to create small businesses; Whole Foods Market will continue to fully underwrite the Foundation’s operating budget and overhead, while also investing $1 million annually in the program.
According to Philip Sansone, president and executive director of Whole Planet Foundation, the microcredit loans will support businesses such as agricultural production, textile work, animal husbandry and more. He added, “Microlending is a tangible path to individual economic prosperity, allowing individuals a chance to lift themselves out of poverty through their own ingenuity and hard work.”
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