The following post is written by Katelyn Gorski, Digital Media Specialist at Whole Planet Foundation.
October 25 marks the tenth anniversary of the day Whole Foods Market stores helped seed Whole Planet Foundation with a company-wide community giving day, known as a 5% Day. Stores across the company donated 5% of the days’ sales to help create a foundation that would give the world’s most disadvantaged an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. Today, Whole Planet Foundation alleviates poverty through microcredit in countries where Whole Foods Market sources product. The foundation partners with local microfinance institutions, providing capital for individuals to kickstart small businesses. The businesses these funds support are small, and often based inside the home.
Whole Foods Market suppliers are some of Whole Planet Foundation’s biggest supporters, and partners like Greyston Bakery honor the day that launched Whole Planet Foundation’s seed money by giving to the Poverty is Unnecessary Fund – a generous $25,000 commitment.
Our partnership with Greyston is especially meaningful to our team. Not only does Greyston Bakery generously support our poverty alleviation efforts, but their mission deeply aligns with ours. We are both committed to entrepreneurship -supporting the efforts of people who want to work hard to create better lives for themselves and their families.
Greyston Bakery’s hiring practices and programs support people who want to earn a living, giving them an opportunity and a chance they would not have otherwise. By partnering with Whole Planet Foundation, Greyston Bakery also helps people in 67 other countries around the world. But what does this actually mean for the microentrepreneurs themselves?
Through access to microcredit, a woman like Joyce in South Africa has the chance to create a more profitable business. Joyce owns a boutique reselling clothing. She began borrowing from Whole Planet Foundation’s partner SEF in 2011. After having a baby in 2013, she found that it wasn’t manageable to continue selling clothing door-to-door. Instead, she wanted to set up a permanent shop. She obtained a loan of 2000 R ($192), which she used to buy additional stock for her store. In the future she plans to diversify her business by adding new products such as tinned fish and chicken feed. With future profits, she plans to buy a car to make buying inventory more efficient and profitable.
Thanks to partnerships like the one between Whole Planet Foundation and Greyston Bakery, small-scale entrepreneurs like Joyce are able to start, build and grow their businesses to achieve their goals and create better lives for themselves and their families.