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Empowerment Through Microcredit: Cafe Spice and Whole Planet Foundation Partner to Alleviate Poverty

Empowerment Through Microcredit: Cafe Spice and Whole Planet Foundation Partner to Alleviate Poverty

1 million. 4.9 million. $92 million. 

What do these numbers and this impressive dollar amount have in common, you ask? They are a snapshot of the impact that Whole Planet Foundation has had on innovative and hard-working microentrepreneurs around the world, from chicken farmers in Zimbabwe and restaurant owners in Austin, to tailors in Sri Lanka and boutique shop owners in Lebanon. Created by Whole Foods Market to alleviate poverty and empower the world’s poorest people through microcredit the lending of small amounts of money at low interest rates to new businesses in developing areas of the worldin places where Whole Foods Market sources products, Whole Planet Foundation is a non-profit foundation that funds microcredit for primarily female and minority small-business owners to help break the cycle of poverty around the world once and for all. And believe it or not, every time you buy a Cafe Spice meal from Whole Foods Market and indulge in your favorite Chicken Curry or Channa Masala, you’re helping to elevate those entrepreneurs, too. 

1 million: the number of active entrepreneurs that Whole Planet Foundation is supporting through microlending programs. When Whole Planet Foundation receives a donation, 100% of that money goes to vetted microfinance institutions (MFIs) that then disburse those funds as microloans. Those loans go directly to the entrepreneurs to help them grow their business, and are repaid back to the MFIs and re-loaned again in the same communities, going through the cycle once again to continuously provide funds to entrepreneurs who need them the most. 

Cafe Spice started their partnership with Whole Planet Foundation in 2011 as a member of the Poverty is Unnecessary Fund, and continues to work towards alleviating global poverty today. In 2015 when Cafe Spice started their scanback program contributing $.05 for every Cafe Spice meal purchased at Whole Foods Market stores, they knew their participation in the microlending program could help people change their own lives for the better, providing access to microcredit for those who might never get that opportunity otherwise. As Cafe Spice and Whole Planet Foundation continue their partnership, small business owners around the world benefitting from these funds are able to buy equipment, increase inventory, and see their hard work grow into success. 

Cafe Spice and Whole Planet Foundation

Photos Courtesy of Whole Planet Foundation.

“Meeting microentrepreneurs in Kerala, India with Cafe Spice’s Payal Malhotra was a highlight of our 2011 Experience Visit because she was able to see first-hand the transformative power of microcredit and the impact of Cafe Spice’s support,” said Joy Stoddard, Whole Planet Foundation development and outreach director. “Cafe Spice is a natural partner given the scanback donation from each meal sold.” 

So how can Cafe Spice enthusiasts be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty around the world too? Every time you purchase a Cafe Spice meal from Whole Foods Market, you are helping us donate dollars and cents to Whole Planet Foundation, which are then turned into microloans for small business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide. That’s right, each time you reach for that Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Vindaloo, or any of your favorite authentic dishes from Cafe Spice in the prepared foods section of your local Whole Foods Market, you’re helping to make a difference for small-business owners across the globe. 

4.9 million & $92 million: the amount of gross funds disbursed by Whole Planet Foundation to help small-business owners become successful. That’s $92 million that has funded 4.9 million microloans for

ingredients, building supplies, textiles, or employee salaries to business owners and their families -- whatever it takes for that entrepreneurial dream to become a reality. 

Whole Planet Foundation just wrapped up their Annual Prosperity Campaign on July 6. Whole Foods Market shoppers along with other stakeholders helped raise $1.1 million for microcredit. But it’s not too late to support! By simply buying your favorite Cafe Spice meal, you can be a part of the worldwide network of supporters this year. Learn more about Whole Planet Foundation and see how you can get involved and make a difference for entrepreneurs around the world.

Sara Kay is a writer, editor, and self-proclaimed home chef currently living in Bratislava, Slovakia. She is a diehard fan of cacio e pepe, a good food pun, and is always on the hunt for the next great nosh.

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