Greyston's history is rich and comes from a place of true caring and acceptance.
Greyston was co-founded by Bernie Glassman and his wife, Sandra Jishu Holmes.
In 1982, Bernie, a Brooklyn-born Zen Buddhism teacher, was living with his students in a home called Greyston Mansion located north of Manhattan. Along with the Zen Community of New York (ZCNY), Bernie opened a small bakery café nearby as a way to employ the students.
The café successfully supported the students, but Bernie wanted to do more. His Buddhist beliefs drew him to community development and work with the homeless and unemployed. His opportunity came when the mayor of Yonkers invited the ZCNY to move the business to his city. At the time, Yonkers had the highest per capita homeless population in the country. The ZCNY sold Greyston Mansion, closed the café, and moved into one of Yonkers’ most troubled neighborhoods. There, an abandoned lasagna factory became home to Greyston Bakery.
None of those committed to this new operation were bakers or businesspeople. Starting capital was limited. A similar Buddhist-run bakery in San Francisco provided inspiration and training for the ZCNY workers at Greyston. After several years, the community began hiring people from the neighborhood. Many of these individuals had unstable lives, lacked education, or had spent time in prison.
It quickly became obvious that that employment was just one of the many unmet needs of the neighborhood. Glassman and his late wife, Sandra (also a Zen teacher) envisioned a nonprofit community development organization that would offer housing, jobs, social services, child care, and HIV-related health care. This was the beginning of Greyston’s community-based programming.
In the mid-1990s, Bernie left Yonkers to pursue other endeavors, but with the solid foundation he, Sandra, and others in the ZCNY community built, Greyston continues to thrive today.
Greyston Bakery is founded
Partners with Ben & Jerry’s to create its Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream
Launch of Greyston Foundation to strengthen the governance of its unique hybrid organization
Greyston Bakery opens a new LEED® Certified 21,000 square foot bakery on the Yonkers waterfront
Workforce Development Program launches to serve hard-to-employ workers
Greyston Bakery ranked in the top 10% of all B Corporations in the world
Bakery invited to the White House for launch of Fair Chance Business Pledge
Greyston celebrates 35 years of innovation and social inclusion
The Center for Open Hiring at Greyston launches