AUSTIN, Texas (April 7, 2010) — Whole Foods Market announced today that its customers have given more than $2.2 million after a six-week prosperity campaign for Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit founded by the company to empower the poor in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty through microcredit loans.

“Thanks to shoppers' generous donations, we'll be able to provide enough loans to empower more than 12,200 poor entrepreneurs, supporting 61,300 people in developing world communities with a chance to change their own lives,” said Phillip Sansone, Whole Planet Foundation's president and executive director. “It's through Whole Foods Market customer support that the Foundation continues to make a lasting impact in impoverished communities around the globe where the company sources products.”

From Feb. 17-March 31, customers donated at the checkouts in more than 280 Whole Foods Market locations and online at: www.wholeplanetfoundation.org. Many also took advantage of in-store opportunities – from community garage sales and tasting events to benefit concerts and silent auctions – all helping the Foundation surpass its 2010 campaign goal of $1.5 million.

“We're so grateful for the dedicated Team Members who spent hundreds of hours inspiring their communities to get involved in this cause,” said Sansone. “Their tireless work and enthusiasm made surpassing this year’s fundraising goal possible.”

Whole Foods Market covers all overhead costs for the Foundation, to ensure that one hundred percent of all donations go directly to fund microlending projects. Typical clients are women who use microcredit loans –usually less than $200 each– to start home-based businesses, such as tailoring, tortilla making and small-scale farming.

In less than five years, the Foundation has disbursed more than $7 million in loans to 67,000 clients, positively impacting a total of 335,000 people worldwide.

“Since the Foundation's inception, we've expanded our global reach to 18 developing-world countries, but there are still so many areas awaiting our help,” said Sansone.  “We've identified more than 50 additional eligible countries for Whole Planet Foundation. With shoppers' continued contributions during the campaign and year-round, we're confident that we'll be able to empower tens of thousands more individuals with an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.”

To donate to Whole Planet Foundation, learn more about the nonprofit, or for stories from microcredit loan recipients, visit: www.wholeplanetfoundation.org or read the Whole Story blog at: http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com.