Supporting 2,000 Rural Entrepreneurs in Southern Mexico, by 2026
by Stephanie Manciagli, Whole Planet Foundation Regional Director for the Americas & the Caribbean
Now through 2026, Whole Planet Foundation and one of its key partners, the Kasperick Foundation, are disbursing $850,000 to two organizations in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico. The funds will go to Trickle Up, a nonprofit, and FondoMás, a financial cooperative, and will support approximately 2,320 people living in rural communities to generate income and improve their business strategies. 86% of recipients will work with Trickle Up and will be women receiving free seed capital to start a very small business, selling items such as food, household goods, or clothing. The other 14% will work with FondoMás and be primarily men, smallholder coffee farmers receiving loans to prepare their harvest. Supporting entrepreneurship in southern Mexico is critical as 76% of Chiapas’ population is living at the poverty line while 66% of Oaxaca’s is.
In early 2023, 1,000 women from remote towns in Chiapas, Mexico, received seed capital grants of $250. 1,000 more women will be included by the of the year. These women formed part of Trickle Up’s Fuerte project. Trickle Up is well-known as one of the pioneering organizations behind the Ultra-Poor Graduation model, which uses a sequenced and time-bound approach to move households out of extreme poverty. Upon joining, participants commit to receiving livelihoods training and to organizing into Savings and Loans groups, where they will run a small community bank with the support of Trickle Up’s training.
In May 2023, Whole Planet Foundation approved a second project in Chiapas, with FondoMás, a savings and lending cooperative based out of San Cristobal de las Casas. FondoMás lends to rural smallholder farmers, who typically have less than 5 acres of land. They use their cash loans to maintain and harvest their plants and then pay off their loans by selling their coffee to FondoMás, who, in turn, sells the coffee in bulk. By opening up these market linkages to farmers, they are providing them with more consistent and better pricing. Moreover, FondoMás’ commitment to environmentally friendly farming practices and with equipping farmers with the tools they need, align them well with Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Foods Market’s higher purpose of Nourishing People and the Planet.
FondoMás works through a network model; while they offer credit, their partners offer training and market linkages to clients. This allows an efficient business model, keeping pricing low and competitive. They also have developed in-house monitoring technology to ensure seamless data sharing with their network partners.
When asked why he supports Whole Planet Foundation’s work in Mexico, Vince Kasperick, the founder of the Kasperick Foundation and donor of this project, said “We are proud to be part of this partnership, bringing opportunity to these budding entrepreneurs.”
Thank you to the Kasperick Foundation for their generosity in supporting our goals in Mexico and to all Whole Planet Foundations donors that enable us to partner with high-impact organizations, helping their clients change their own lives through entrepreneurship.
Learn more at wholeplanetfoundation.org.