OVERVIEW: The Whole Planet Foundation narrowly focuses its grantmaking on microlending, but its reach is wide.
IP TAKE: Whole Planet is not a large grantmaker, but its focus on microlending can mean the difference in economic security for people living in developing countries.
PROFILE: Whole Foods Market formed a partnership with Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus to establish the Whole Planet Foundation in 2005. The foundation focuses on poverty and food insecurity through grants to microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world. Although it supports a number of different global MFIs, the foundation emphasizes its working partnerships, which include some big names in the MFI industry including BRAC, Grameen America, and the Aga Khan Foundation. Overall, the foundation's impact-driven mission seeks to alleviate poverty around the world.
While Whole Plant focuses most of its grantmaking on large MFIs, such as Grameen and BRAC, it also supports smaller MFIs that have a connection to Whole Foods. For example, the foundation has supported Fonkoze, based in Haiti. Fonkoze works in a number of different regions in Haiti, focusing on rural areas.
Internationally, the Whole Planet Foundation concentrates its microfinance efforts in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. However, nationally, the foundation also supports microlending in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Charlotte, North Carolina, Omaha, Nebraska, Indianapolis, and is in the process of adding more cities. The programs focus on helping women living in poverty build small businesses to help foster economic security.
Whole Planet’s grants tend to range between $10,000 to $100,000. Larger grants are rare, and most come in between $10,000 and $50,000.
Unfortunately, the foundation offers little information regarding how like-minded organizations can get their hands on a grant. The best bet is to contact the Foundation at: 55 Bowie Street, Austin, TX 78703-4677. Grantseekers can also give the Foundation a call at (512) 542-0144.
- Philip Sansone, President and Executive Director
- Steve Wanta, Global Program Director