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    Whole Foods Lines Up Suppliers to Help Fight Poverty

    Whole Planet Foundation's million dollar program.

    Whole Planet Foundation, a Whole Foods Market nonprofit organization dedicated to combating poverty in developing countries, said yesterday it has created a coalition of natural foods companies called Whole Planet Foundation Supplier Alliance for Microcredit, which has pledged $1.05 million over three years to help support the Foundation's microlending programs.

    The Alliance partners -- Allegro Coffee Company, Back to Nature, Balance Bar, The Hain Celestial Group, ITO EN, Naked Juice, New Chapter, Seventh Generation, Stacy's, and Whole Foods -- have together committed more than $1 million that will directly support more than 32,500 people in 6,500 families through the creation of home-based businesses, Whole Foods said.

    The chain said it would continue to support the foundation's annual operating budget and overhead, and that it also donates $1 million annually to support microlending programs.

    "Businesses developed with loans from the Whole Planet Foundation Supplier Alliance for Microcredit will be as diverse as agricultural production, animal husbandry, pastry and bread making, sewing, textile, and other handicraft work," said Philip Sansone, president and executive director of Whole Planet Foundation, in a statement. "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."

    Whole Planet Foundation said it is running marketing campaigns in all U.S. Whole Foods stores during March in appreciation of the Supplier Alliance Partners.

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