Our interests are in furthering social justice, protecting the environment and supporting sustainable food systems.
We are committed to supporting non-violent, thoughtful and strategic approaches that are utilizing grassroots organizing strategies to work for social change.
Our philanthropy is led by Ben & Jerry’s employees who serve on committees that review grants.
Giving back to our Vermont communities happens through the small grants programs and the community service projects of the Vermont Community Action Teams at the company’s three Vermont sites, our Vermont Economic Justice Grant program, and our Vermont Capacity-Building Grant program.
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.