AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 25, 2010) — Whole Foods Market's nonprofit Whole Planet Foundation is hosting its annual Prosperity Campaign in stores nationwide with the goal of raising $1.5 million to empower the poor to lift themselves out of poverty through microcredit loans. From Feb. 17-March 31, Whole Foods Market invites shoppers to donate directly to the Foundation at checkout registers and online at www.wholeplanetfoundation.org.

“Microcredit is such a sustainable way to support a community economically, and this campaign really makes it easy for our shoppers and Team Members to help out,” said Phillip Sansone, Whole Planet Foundation's president and executive director. “If we reach this year's goal of raising $1.5 million, we will be able to provide enough loans to empower 40,000 people in developing world communities with the chance to change their own lives.”

One hundred percent of shoppers’ donations will directly fund microlending projects, supporting the Foundation's mission to create economic partnerships with the poor in developing-world communities that supply the company's stores with products. Typical microcredit clients use loans – usually less than $200 each –to start home-based businesses, from tailoring and producing artisan goods to tortilla making and small-scale farming.

To date, the Foundation has funded more than $10.6 million in microlending programs in 18 countries, positively impacting a total of 330,070 people worldwide.

For more on Whole Planet Foundation, this year's Prosperity Campaign, or for stories and testimonials from microcredit loan recipients, please visit: http://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org/.