The wonderfully fudgy brownies that we use in our ice cream come from New York’s Greyston Bakery, where producing scrumptious baked goods is part of their greater mission to provide jobs and training to low-income residents of Yonkers, New York.
If you’ve ever enjoyed our Chocolate Fudge Brownie or Half-Baked™ ice cream flavors, then you’ve already had a taste of Greyston’s greatness. We first tried their incredible brownies back in the late 1980s, and we’ve been ordering tons of them ever since.
But out-of-this-world treats are only part of what makes this bakery so special.
History of Greyston
Founded in 1982 as a social enterprise by aeronautical-engineer-turned-Buddhist-monk Bernie Glassman, Greyston Bakery is as committed to providing jobs and job training for individuals who face barriers to employment as it is to crafting award-winning gourmet baked goods. Ben Cohen and Bernie Glassman met back in 1987 and, a year later, Greyston began providing Ben & Jerry’s with delicious brownies for some of our most popular flavors. It’s like it was meant to be!
Through their groundbreaking open-door hiring policy, anyone who wants a job at Greyston is given the chance to work, regardless of educational background, work history, or past social barriers, such as incarceration, homelessness, or drug use. There are no background checks and no prescreening of any kind—when a position becomes available, the next person on the waiting list gets it, no questions asked.
A Different Business Model
They have a favorite saying at Greyston Bakery: “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” Like Ben & Jerry’s, founder Bernie Glassman believes that business success and social progress go hand in hand.
A Certified B Corp, and New York State’s first Benefit Corporation, Greyston has become a role model for companies looking to do more for their communities. Profits from the bakery help support its parent organization, the non-profit Greyston Foundation, which provides child care, housing, health care, job training, a computer learning center, and more for low-income people in the community of Yonkers.
Some jobs are more than just jobs—they’re life-changing opportunities.
Lamont Dandridge was out of work for six years. He’s only been at Greyston for a short while, but it’s changed his life. “I’m not letting this opportunity go,” he says.
Paul Daniels, a baker, spent 9 years in prison for dealing drugs, but now he enjoys being a role model in the community.
A lead operator in the packing room, Lisa Marie Bryant loves that Greyston offers advancement for women and wants to become a supervisor one day.
Shaniqua Anderson went to jail for two years and never finished high school. Thanks to Greyston, she has a job and was able to earn her GED.
After being in and out of prison for years, Darren Patterson is a mixer now, and a union representative. “I feel like the man that I’m supposed to be,” he says.
Working at Greyston Bakery means that you’re part of a family. That same spirit is reflected in Greyston’s approach to the community. CEO Mike Brady says, that “the brownie in Chocolate Fudge Brownie has allowed 2,000 people to find work that may have otherwise never gotten a job. And those 2,000 people over time have put $15 million back into the struggling economy of southwest Yonkers.”
Greyston employees regularly volunteer in the community, including a record 420 hours in 2014. They host clean-up and beautification days, plant garden plots, and more. In 2013, Greyston even opened a new housing development with 92 energy-efficient apartments for local working families.
All of which is to say, there’s no need to feel guilty the next time you dig into a pint or two of Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Those delicious chunks do more than delight: they make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people.
And there’s more good news for those who like their treats with a side of optimism: In addition to their brownies and blondies, Greyston has introduced a new line of slim crispy cookies—which has enabled them to add sixteen more jobs at the bakery!