Becca has been with the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation since 1992 and has served as Director since 1994 when she guided the Foundation’s transition to employee-led grantmaking programs. Becca enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, dancing, gardening, and cooking and is passionate about the interconnectedness of food systems, social justice and environmental stewardship. She is the mother of two and loves spending time with her family and friends in her small Vermont village, where she co-founded the school garden committee and has served on the local school board. She has also served on and co-chaired the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, a national funders’ affinity group.
Lisa has worked for the Foundation since 1999 and often tells people that she has one of the best jobs in corporate America. Lisa loves her job and the caring, bright people she works with. Foundation travels have taken her to Cuba and the World Social Forums in Brazil and Venezuela, and showed her grassroots advocacy and organizing from a different perspective. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering at her local school and serves on the garden committee. She enjoys a simple life in the Lake Champlain Islands of Vermont and loves to garden, sail, ski, spend time with friends and most importantly be with her very active family.
Dana joined the Foundation staff in 2010 after serving on the Employee Grant Making Committee for 5 years. Dana hails originally from Australia and has lived in the states for 15 years. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked at the Ben & Jerry's Waterbury plant initially as a production worker and then as a Senior Tour Host. A love of snowboarding is what brought Dana to Vermont and a love of Vermont is what has kept her here. She is the mother of one young daughter.
Jerry Greenfield is the co-founder of the company. With a background in biology and a graduate certificate on making ice cream from a Penn State correspondence course, Jerry took charge of the operations side of the business and made the first batches of ice cream. He also made sure it was fun to work at Ben & Jerry's. His famous words "If its not fun why do it" were memorialized on a bumper sticker you still see driving around Vermont and other parts of the country. Like Ben, he wanted to make great ice cream, treat employees really well, and give back to the community. He is the first and only President of the Foundation.
Jeff Furman, is famous for having written the first business plan to help Ben & Jerry secure a bank loan. Jeff came up with a plan that a New York pizza parlor had used and substituted "cone" for "slice". Ben & Jerry's got the loan. Jeff was the first member of the company board and continues to serve in that capacity. He played a key role in helping the company think about innovation in its social mission, such as with PartnerShops, scoop shops operated by non-profits. He has served on the Foundation board since its inception in 1985. His work with non-profits includes Social Ventures, an Ithaca-based nonprofit concerned with school equity and poverty and The EDGE Funders Alliance (Engaged Donors for Global Equity).
Liz Bankowski remembers the call inviting her to join the company's board of directors. Being a very big fan of the company, she responded, "Yeah!" Upon joining the board, she made the observation that while the company staffed the quality and financial parts of its three part mission, that which was deemed by all as the most important, the social mission, was not staffed. In typical Ben & Jerry's fashion she was immediately given that job and became one of very few executives focused on corporate social responsibility. Liz has been a trustee of the Foundation since 1994. In addition to consulting on corporate social responsibility she is on the board of The Windham Foundation and The High Meadows Fund organizations working to support the economic and environmental sustainability of Vermont’s small towns.
Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, is an internationally renowned expert on trade, development, human rights and agriculture issues. She joined the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation board of trustees in 2012 and fits this responsibility in amongst her work on several boards and advisory committees including the International Forum on Globalization and the independent board of the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. Anuradha is the author of numerous books and articles and is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including being named the Most Valuable Thinker in 2008 by the Nation magazine.
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. undertook a public stock offering to support its ongoing growth. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was created at the same time, with an initial gift from Ben of 50,000 shares and an unprecedented decision of the company’s Board of Directors to commit 7 ½% of the company’s annual pretax profits to philanthropy.
Foundation and company staff held a retreat with experts in social change work and philanthropy to think about the Foundation’s strategies and effectiveness. The outcome? There's no better way to communicate the company’s progressive values than by empowering employees to participate in decision-making.
The Foundation redesigns the grantmaking process to include employees directly in grant decisions. Through the creation of Community Action Teams at each site and the Employee Grantmaking Committee, decision-making was placed in employees’ hands.
The Foundation develops a Matching Gift Program for all Ben & Jerry's employees.
In 2000 the company was acquired by Unilever, a global company with over 400 brands. Unilever continues to support the Foundation through an annual allocation that takes into account Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sales. For 2015 this amounted to $2.8 million.
The Foundation celebrates it's 20th Anniversary
Vermont Capacity Building Grant Program launched. Rural Vermont is the first recipient of this multi-year grant.
Vermont Economic Justice Grant and National Movement Building Grant Programs launched.