Mission & History

Greyston’s Mission

Greyston is a force for personal transformation and community economic renewal. We operate a profitable business, baking high quality products with a commitment to customer satisfaction. Grounded in a philosophy that we call PathMaking, we create jobs and provide integrated programs for individuals and their families to move forward on their path to self-sufficiency.

Our History

Greyston has a successful 30 year history that’s grounded in a philosophy to better our community and the lives within it. This philosophy permeates everything that we do and has helped to make Greyston the force of socially conscious purpose that it is today.

In the 1980s, our founder, Roshi Bernie Glassman recognized that employment is the gateway out of poverty and towards self-sufficiency. In 1982, he opened Greyston Bakery, giving the hard-to-employ a new chance at life. His open-door policy offered employment opportunities regardless of education, work history or past social barriers, such as incarceration, homelessness or drug use.

Out of this hiring policy a new and larger mission grew. Low-income apartments were built for the formerly homeless, providing housing for Bakery workers and their peers. Soon after, Greyston Child Care Center was founded to ensure that a lack of high-quality, low cost child care wouldn’t be a barrier to work. As the AIDS epidemic spread, Greyston responded by opening Issan House and the Maitri Center, providing housing and adult day health services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Growing awareness of health disparities for communities of color and growing concerns about the environment prompted the creation of the Community Gardens and Environmental Education program. Most recently, in response to the recession, which disproportionately impacted poor Yonkers residents, Greyston launched WD 2.0, a comprehensive workforce development program.

What originally began as a modest bakery has grown into a broad array of results-oriented, evidence-based programs and services designed to respond to the changing needs of Yonkers residents. We are proud to say that today, Greyston serves over 2,200 community members annually.

Our Founder

Spotlight on Roshi Bernie Glassman: Zen Master Bernie Glassman founded Greyston Bakery in 1982. His unique blend of visionary leadership, analytical acumen, and entrepreneurial vigor remain a cornerstone of Greyston’s operations. He is a world-renowned pioneer in the American Zen Movement and the founder of the Zen Peacemakers. He is a spiritual leader, published author, accomplished academic and successful businessman with a PhD in Applied Mathematics. Having spent decades teaching Zen and working in Socially Engaged Buddhism, he is now spending the early years of his ’70s giving workshops and serving in socially-engaged projects around the world. He still finds the time to spend a day a month at Greyston. For more on Roshi Bernie Glassman, visit Zen Peacemakers.

If you are interested in meeting Bernie when he travels to Greyston, please email info@greyston.org.

Greyston Milestones

  • 1982: Greyston Bakery founded in the Bronx, NY by Roshi Bernard Glassman
  • 1987: Relocation to Southwest Yonkers
  • 1988: Production begins on brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
  • 1988: First affordable housing opens with Child Care Center
  • 1992: Greyston Foundation is established
  • 1995: First Community Garden opens
  • 1998: Greyston Bakery and Ben & Jerry’s celebrate 10 years of production, selling more than 300,000 pints of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream
  • 1998: Issan House and Maitri Center open to serve the HIV/AIDS population
  • 2004: New Bakery completed, chosen as an AIA Top Ten Green Project
  • 2009: Greyston launches a new Workforce Development program, designed to provide both hard-skills and soft-skills training to hard-to-employ individuals
  • 2012: Greyston Bakery achieves $10 million in sales
  • 2012: Greyston registers as New York State’s first Benefit Corporation
  • 2013: Greyston opens new $32 million multifamily housing developing in Yonkers with 92 modern, energy efficient apartments for local working families