Jerry Greenfield and his long-time friend and business partner
Ben Cohen are the men behind one of the most talked-about
and least conventional success stories in American business.
Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., Greenfield has
helped to build a store front venture into an ice cream and business marvel by making social responsibility and creative management strengths, rather than weaknesses.
Jerry Greenfield was born in Brooklyn, New York, four days before his future business partner Ben Cohen. He grew up and went to school in Merrick, Long Island. It was there that he first met Ben in junior high school, and the two have remained close friends ever since. Greenfield graduated from high school with a National Merit Scholarship under his belt and enrolled at Oberlin College to study pre-med.
At Oberlin, Greenfield got his first taste of the ice cream industry when he took a job as a scooper in the college cafeteria. After graduation, he worked as a lab technician in New York and lived with his school buddy Ben in an apartment on East 10th Street. In 1977, with Jerry thoroughly sick of his occupation as lab tech, the two friends decided to fulfill a dream they both shared: doing a venture together. The two eventually settled on ice cream, and, after a bit of research (and a $5 Penn State correspondence course in ice cream making), opened Ben & Jerry’s Homemade ice cream parlor in Burlington, Vermont in May 1978.
Today a model for American business success, Greenfield and Cohen have been recognized for fostering their company’s commitment to social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities, and by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Today, Greenfield’s official title at the company is Co-Founder. He is involved in promoting the social and environmental initiatives that Ben & Jerry’s undertakes. He is also President of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation.
Ben & Jerry's