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Together, We Donated $2.7 Million for Haitian Relief

By Winnie Hsia, February 2, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Winnie Hsia

•Update 2/2/2010•

In just two weeks, customers at 289 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. donated nearly $1.7 million to a variety of relief organizations, including Action Against Hunger, American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Doctors Without Borders, Food for the Poor and Partners in Health. Whole Foods Market’s Team Members contributed more than $58,400 to a special “Haitian Fund” to support fellow Team Members whose friends and family have been affected by the earthquake. Whole Foods Market has nearly 2,000 Haitian Team Members working in its stores. Through our Whole Planet Foundation, Whole Foods Market provided $1 million to Fonkoze, allowing the microcredit organization to be among the first to provide banking services to people in Haiti following the earthquake. Haiti-based Fonkoze serves more than 55,000 women borrowers and 1 million families who receive remittances from relatives and friends abroad, and has been a partner of Whole Planet Foundation since March 2009.  The Whole Planet Foundation contribution allowed Fonkoze to rebuild critical infrastructure and open its branch offices, giving Haitians access to cash, money transfers and much-needed loans to re-establish their businesses. “Whole Foods Market’s gift is the largest single contribution that Fonkoze has received and more importantly, it was delivered to us less than a week after the earthquake,” says Anne Hastings, director of Fonkoze Financial Services.  “Thanks to this immediate financial assistance, we were the first bank to open in Haiti, allowing us to get much-needed cash to our customers and microloans to members who need to re-establish their businesses. This is a first and major step toward economic recovery for Haiti.” While not surprised by the out-pouring of cash donations, we are extremely humbled and grateful that our customers and Team Members contributed to help so many others in need. Thank you.

•Posted 1/22/2010•

We are humbled and honored to announce that in one week, Whole Foods Market customers have donated $1 million to Haitian relief efforts. The donation drive will continue through January 31st. (Read the post below for specifics on the relief organizations we are supporting.) Additionally, through our nonprofit Whole Planet Foundation, we are doubling our original commitment to now provide $1 million to our on-the-ground microlending partner in Haiti, Fonkoze.  As one of Haiti’s leading microfinance institutions, Fonkoze offers microcredit along with a full range of financial services to the poor and underserved throughout the country.  “Fonkoze is working right now to meet the needs of impoverished Haitians and help them to recover from this devastating disaster,” said Philip Sansone, president and executive director of Whole Planet Foundation. “They are working tirelessly to get basic banking services up and running now, and eventually, will provide Haitians with much-needed loans to reestablish their businesses.” --- Posted 1/15/2010 In the wake of a devastating earthquake in Haiti that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and many more deeply affected, our 289 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom have partnered with various disaster relief and humanitarian aide organizations to collect donations at our registers.  Our shoppers can give any amount at the checkouts to directly support several different relief organizations. In addition, we have created a special “Haitian Fund” to support Team Members who have been affected by the earthquake. “We have many Team Members from Haiti, and together we are supporting them by taking these steps,” said Walter Robb, co-president and chief operating officer at Whole Foods Market. “We’re also setting up donation boxes in employee areas in stores, facilities and offices.” Our Team Members across different regions are taking the initiative to help in a number of ways, from collecting clothes and running food drives to putting on fundraising dinners in the stores. We are also looking into other ways to help, including working with vendors to deliver additional food and water to the country, and researching whether we can help Team Member volunteers participate in relief efforts which are going to be needed for the months to come. Through January 31st, shoppers can conveniently make donations at Whole Foods Market’s registers. Shoppers can contribute $1, $2, $5, $10, or any designated amount to each store’s selected non-profit relief organizations.  These include:
  • AmeriCares — Our stores in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Pacific Northwest and Southern Pacific regions will give to AmeriCares, a disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that provides immediate response to those in need of emergency medical treatment.
  • Food for the Poor — Our stores in Florida and the Southwest region will give to this Miami-based organization with an infrastructure in Haiti. It is the largest international relief organization in the United States.
  • American Red Cross — Our stores in the Northern California, Rocky Mountain and South regions will give to the Red Cross, an emergency response organization that aids victims of devastating natural disasters.
  • Partners in Health — Our stores in the North Atlantic region, home to the highest concentration of Haitians in the U.S., will give to this Boston-based organization which brings modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world.
  • Doctors Without Borders — Our Toronto-area stores will give to this international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries.
  • Action Against Hunger — Whole Foods Market’s United Kingdom stores will give to this organization, which has mounted an emergency response to provide clean water, sanitation equipment and emergency supplies for survivors.
Whole Planet Foundation, our non-profit organization that helps developing countries through microfinance, works with Fonkoze, its trusted on-the-ground partner in Haiti. Fonkoze works to meet the needs of impoverished Haitians and will be helping them recover from this devastating disaster. Fonkoze’s Earthquake News page details the most current information on Fonkoze and their microcredit clients and explains how to designate a donation for earthquake relief. Thank you all for the outpouring of generosity and we will keep you updated on our efforts.




Zamir says ...
Any chance we can get this going in the Vancouver store? I was there the other day and wasn't asked for a donation to Haiti.... Thank you
01/15/2010 6:33:55 PM CST
Michelet Lafleur says ...
As a Team Members of whole foods in Northeast white plains New York and as a Haitian i want to take the firts step to say thank you to everyone in whole foods.My Heart goes out to all my Haitian brothers and sisters who have been effected by the recent earthquake...Currently the phones are down and I can't get in contact with folks on the island.Haiti needs a “Miracle.” Haiti needs a “Revival.” Haiti needs God's people to unite together in prayer and seek His face and pray for Haiti.We're in desperate need of prayer. May God have mercy on Haiti... Lord forgive us.
01/15/2010 9:11:27 PM CST
elyse eisenberg says ...
Contribute an Entry to The Pioneer Woman Food Blog and Help Haiti: http://creativedelites.com/2010/01/15/contribute-an-entry-to-the-pioneer-woman-food-blog-and-help-haiti/
01/15/2010 10:06:36 PM CST
Nicholas says ...
This is all commendable- but how about WFM actually spending some of their own money on Haiti?
01/17/2010 3:22:03 PM CST
John Bent says ...
Hello, It is a very sad time for brothers and sisters of Haiti. With recent tragic incident in Haiti killing over 100000 people, donations can help them to recover soon. We have created a small website which provides easy links to all Non Profit organizations for donations like Red Cross, Unicef etc http://www.youcanhelphaiti.org/>You Can Help Haiti! Thanks, Prayers.
01/17/2010 3:56:11 PM CST
Erin says ...
"Our Team Members across different regions are taking the initiative to help in a number of ways, from collecting clothes and running food drives to putting on fundraising dinners in the stores." Which stores are collecting clothes? I called the ones near me and they are only collecting money at this time.
01/18/2010 10:12:25 AM CST
Marina says ...
Yesterday I was asked to donate to Americares at the 14th and P Whole Foods in Washington, DC. I think it's a wonderful idea and I am grateful that WF is doing this.
01/18/2010 10:36:39 AM CST
Britt says ...
Nicholas, the purpose of this blog is to inform the public about how they can join in and help and the resources for giving provided by Whole Foods to do so. Don't think for a second that the employees and executives aren't digging deep into their own pockets. Whole Foods provides neverending efforts to support and enrich the communities and the world in which it's stores exist, they do good, they really aren't a huge wholesale profit machine, sure, they make profits, but their choices and business plan are making a huge impact on the way we are sustaining ourselves in this world for the better.
01/18/2010 11:15:48 AM CST
S.L. says ...
But.....what is Whole Foods Inc. doing?? The company I work for donated $1 million AND set up a donation program AND is working with the Red Cross and other organizations. How much did Whole Foods donate?
01/18/2010 1:29:42 PM CST
Olivia Fackelmayer(private Please) says ...
I am very happy to see how proactive you are being to help the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti. I am familiar by name with many of your wonderful employees from Haiti. They are always helpful, go out of their way to help me and smile! Not something you see in many stores today. These people are one of the reason I choose to shop at Whole Foods. Partrick, who, helps keep the cars moving at the Geenwich, CT location, is out there, in the parking lot, with a big smile, always polite and charming, in all weathers. I will be making a special trip to doing my grocery shopping at Whole Foods tomorrow. Not only because I love the store and the products but i LOVE the people who work there, Haitian or not. Your employees are a great credit to you.
01/18/2010 5:49:31 PM CST
Nicholas says ...
It is good to see the company is making a lot of varied efforts to help.
01/19/2010 12:52:27 PM CST
Carolyn Wegner says ...
I am deeply touched and gratefu to Whole Foods and all the humanitarian aid the stores in this country will be giving to the devastated country of Haiti and its people. I am hoping the Whole Foods Store here in Boulder on Pearl Street has a relief effort that will take in donated clothes, as that is how I plan to assist those in need. Thank you, Whole Foods!!
01/20/2010 8:00:23 PM CST
Catherine McDonald says ...
I am glad to have the information on relief efforts to Haiti. I feel confident that I will make the effort to contribute at the checkout with the Food For the Poor. Thanks. Cathy
01/20/2010 9:49:19 PM CST
Erin says ...
I applaud your corporations efforts to not only help victims in Haiti, but also your own Haitian-American employees here at home. I also really appreciate the chance to regularly make donations or this important cause when I shop, and would appreciate the ability to do so beyond 1/31 if circumstances merit.
01/21/2010 6:39:12 PM CST
Tami says ...
Please Whole Foods, reconsider anything having to do with the Red Cross. Yes its great they want to help BUT... besides somehow mismanaging funds and then lieing about it. {They some how LOST 90 MILLION that was to go to the victims of 911} The Red Cross only gives 30¢ per every dollar they receive, the rest goes in their pockets. Funny that the Obama's didn't give to the Red Cross. They gave to another charity. Doctors Without Borders gives 85¢ per every dollar and the other charitys mention give so much more. Dont take my word for it..check them out for yourselves.
02/06/2010 3:48:26 PM CST