Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, will speak on “An Evening of Entrepreneurial Spirit, Social Responsibility and Radical Business Philosophy,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in Nininger Hall Gym at Bridgewater College.
In 1978, with $12,000, Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen opened Ben & Jerry’s in a refurbished gas station in Burlington, Vt. The first franchise followed in 1981, distribution outside Vermont began in 1983 and the company went public in 1984. In 2000, the pair sold the ice cream business for more than $325 million to Unilever, with Greenfield remaining active in the company.
Greenfield and Cohen are co-authors of the bestseller Ben & Jerry’s Double-Dip: How to Run a Values Led Business and Make Money Too.
Recognized for fostering the company’s commitment to social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities, Ben & Jerry’s was awarded the Corporate Giving Award in 1988 for donating 7.5 percent of their pre-tax profits to non-profit organizations through the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Greenfield and Cohen were also named U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year in 1988 by the U.S. Small Business Administration in a White House ceremony hosted by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1993, the duo received the James Beard Humanitarians of the Year Award and in 1997 the Peace Museum’s Community Peacemakers of the Year Award.
Beyond Ben & Jerry’s, Greenfield serves on the board for the Institute for Sustainable Communities and is involved with Businesses for Social Responsibility and TrueMajority.