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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

IU's Kelley School of Business presenting public lecture by Ben & Jerry's co-founder on March 30

March 22, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jerry Greenfield, who with long-time friend Ben Cohen helped to build a $300 million ice cream empire by making social responsibility and creative management strengths instead of weaknesses, will speak at Indiana University Bloomington next Wednesday (March 30).

His presentation, "An Evening of Entrepreneurial Spirit, Social Responsibility & Radical Business Philosophy," will begin at 7 p.m. at the IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St. The event, which is being presented by the Kelley Institute for Social Impact (KISI) in IU's Kelley School of Business, will be free and open to the public.

Jerry Greenfield

Jerry Greenfield

A reception with free Ben & Jerry's ice cream will follow Greenfield's presentation and Q&A. Please RSVP for the reception at

"Through the new Kelley Institute for Social Impact, we will support students interested in using their business and other personal skills to make a difference in our society," said Molly Barwick, one of KISI's co-directors. "Jerry Greenfield's presentation will show the audience how every person can make an impact -- whether you want to start a socially responsible business or simply buy products that support the environment and community development."

The Kelley School invited Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS Shoes Inc.; Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes; and three other speakers to its "Check Your Label: Elements of Conscious Consumerism" last year.

Cohen and Greenfield, friends since junior high school in Merrick, Long Island, N.Y., started Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. in May 1978, fulfilling a long-time dream they shared -- to run a food business together. After doing a little research, including a $5 Penn State correspondence course on ice cream making, they opened their first parlor in Burlingon, Vt.

The duo soon became known throughout Vermont for their rich, unusual flavors -- such as "Cherry Garcia" and "Chunky Monkey" -- as well as their community-oriented approach to doing business. They sponsored a Fall Down Festival and free outdoor movie festival and celebrated their anniversaries with a Free Cone Day.

As the company expanded into new markets, Greenfield began handling everything from distribution to orientation to employee motivation.

Now 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, which awarded them the Corporate Giving Award in 1988 for donating 7.5 percent of their pre-tax profits to nonprofit organizations through their foundation.

The U.S. Small Business Administration named them Small Business Business Persons of the Year in 1988.

In August 2000, Ben & Jerry's was acquired by Unilever, a British-Dutch food company with distribution in 100 countries. Under terms of the agreement with Unilever, Ben & Jerry's continues to be largely operated independently and according to their guiding principles toward employees, philanthropy and use of milk from Vermont family farmers who agree not to use growth hormones.

Greenfield is co-author (with Cohen) of the 1997 best-selling book Ben & Jerry's Double Dip: Lead With Your Values and Make Money (Simon & Schuster) as well as the 1987 book Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book (Workman Publishing Co.).