Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield
co-founders, Ben and Jerry's
Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield are entrepreneurs, activists, philanthropists, and co-founders of ice cream company Ben and Jerry's.
By making humanitarianism and philanthropy integral parts of their business ethic, Ben & Jerry found a way to combine profitability with social responsibility, created a progressive new approach to employee management, and built one of the largest ice cream empires in the world.
What makes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield so unique as entrepreneurs is that they redefined corporate philanthropy. While many companies only go as far as to set aside a portion of their profits for charity, Cohen and Greenfield have actually created products that have in turn created jobs in economically depressed regions both in the United States and overseas.
In their quest to initiate innovative ways to improve the quality of life for a broad community, they have launched flavors such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie, which contains brownies made by homeless and unemployed workers in Yonkers, New York; Wild Maine Blueberry, made with blueberries harvested by Passamaquoddy Indians; and Rainforest Crunch, for which the company buys Brazil nuts collected in the Amazon rain forest by indigenous peoples, thereby providing an economically viable alternative to deforestation. In addition, 60 percent of the profits from that flavor go to environmental groups dedicated to preserving the Amazon rainforest.)