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The Future is Female

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Whole Foods Market’s Whole Planet Foundation powers her potential.

By Lauren Jones, Photos courtesy of Whole Planet Foundation

Ligia with her daughter in Queens, New York.

Imagine a world in which women are able to live to their fullest potential, open their own businesses, support their families and put an end to the vicious cycle of poverty they face on a daily basis. Whole Planet Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, is making that dream a reality for many throughout the world. Through partnering with pro-poor microfinance institutions, Whole Planet Foundation has been able to give $69 million to women in 72 countries in the last decade.

Stories of hope

In the U.S., the foundation partners with Grameen America, a proven microcredit institution, to help those in need. Ligia, a woman who lives in Queens, N.Y., has been able to build a successful business selling Ecuadorian clothing and accessories because of the loan she received. At the end of each day, her daughter helps in the store and learns valuable business lessons.

Halima in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the foundation partners with BRAC, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, to support girls like Halima, who used her microcredit loans to support her vegetable stand while supplementing her income by selling clothing door to door in the community.

In El Salvador, Marisol, a single mother raising two children, ages 17 and 10, has benefited from the Whole Planet Foundation through its microfinance partner ASEI. She received a small commercial business loan and started selling snacks outside a local elementary school. Later, she received an agricultural loan to plant rice, beans and sorghum. Through the money she has raised, she’s invested back into her business, now spending her days at her store and weekends and afternoons tending to the farm.

Women support women

In June, the Whole Planet Foundation will hold its first Power Her Potential Women’s Expo, a full-day experience for women and by women at the flagship Whole Foods Market on North Lamar Boulevard. The day will consist of speakers, fitness and cooking demonstrations, panels, classes and family activities. Attendees can also meet the founders of favorite brands like Siete Family Foods and The Seaweed Bath Co., and hear keynote conversations with former Austin Woman cover woman Sara Brand, founding general partner of True Wealth Ventures, a venture-capital firm funding woman-run businesses; and Theresa Carrington, founder of The Blessing Basket Project.

This unique event will raise awareness for the work Whole Planet Foundation does in the U.S. and in the countries where Whole Foods Market® sources its products, and proceeds will directly support female entrepreneurs.

For more information about Whole Planet Foundation, ways to get involved or to purchase a ticket for the June 2 Power Her Potential Women’s Expo, visit wholeplanetfoundation.org.

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