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    Whole Foods Gift Card Aims to Help Ease Poverty

    Program rollout marks fifth anniversary of Whole Planet Foundation

    To mark the fifth anniversary of its nonprofit Whole Planet Foundation, Whole Foods Market has introduced a gift card that will enable shoppers to donate funds to alleviate world poverty.

    When customers buy a gift card, a $1 donation to Whole Planet Foundation will automatically be added to the card’s original face value at checkout, providing purchasers with an easy way to help the global working poor.

    “It’s so inspiring to see Whole Foods Market shoppers looking for even more ways to give back,” noted Whole Planet Foundation president and executive director Philip Sansone. “Thanks to their ongoing support, we’ve been able provide more than 146,000 poor entrepreneurs in 36 countries with a chance to change their own lives through microcredit. Now, when they purchase one of the new gift cards, shoppers are not only buying a present for a loved one, they’re [also] helping contribute to better lives of those in need in developing countries.”

    Created as an expansion of the Austin, Texas-based natural food retailer’s mission to participate fully in the worldwide community, the foundation awards grants to microfinance institutions in the nations from which the company sources products.

    Whole Foods pays all operating costs for Whole Planet Foundation, allowing 100 percent of every donation to fund microlending projects around the world. Typical microcredit clients use loans of around $200 apiece to start home-based businesses.

    As well as furthering the foundation’s goals, the gift cards are made from birch wood harvested from sustainably managed forests certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

    Since it began, the Whole Planet Foundation has funded more than $11.5 million and committed more than $16 million in microlending programs in 36 countries, helping more than 868,000 people worldwide.

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