Subject: Austin nonprofits give to East Timor micro lending program

Austin nonprofits give to East Timor micro lending program

Austin Business Journall, 20 May

Whole Foods Market Inc.'s nonprofit, Whole Planet Foundation, is collaborating with the Silverton Foundation, an Austin-based private family foundation, to provide funding to micro lending projects in the country of East Timor.

Whole Foods and Silverton will direct up to $600,000 over three years to entrepreneurs in East Timor, a country located about 400 miles northwest of Australia.

Netherlands-based Triodos Bank is also committing $400,000.

The Austin philanthropic effort picked East Timor because of Austin's connections to the island nation.

Whole Foods Market works with East Timorese coffee growers to supply product to its 270 stores. East Timor's Austin connections expand to include a former University of Texas law professor becoming the first U.S. ambassador to East Timor in 2003; an executive assistant and advisor to East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta leaving her job at an Austin high tech company to take that position; and the Austin Community Foundation maintaining a special project fund that directs contributions from Austinites in support of reconstruction and reconciliation in East Timor.

"Microcredit works," says Philip Sansone, president and executive director of Whole Planet Foundation. "We have witnessed first hand that individuals are able to lift themselves out of poverty through micro lending. We are excited to partner with Silverton Foundation and together have a larger impact."

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