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Yonkers Bakery Guru Wins Award For Social Innovation

Dion Drew, fourth from left, representing Greyston Bakery founder Bernie Glassman; Bill Bolling, former executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, third from left; and Gavin Armstrong, founder of Lucky Iron Fish, show off the awards. Photo Credit: Provided
Bernie Glassman, a Zen Buddhist who found Greystone Bakery in Yonkers, was honored for the organization's social innovations in Wellesley, Mass., on Thursday. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

YONKERS, N.Y. – The founder of Yonkers-based Greyston -- which calls itself “Bakers with a Mission” -- has been honored with a prestigious award for social innovation.

On Thursday, the Lewis Institute at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., presented the award to Bernie Glassman, a Zen Buddhist who founded the nonprofit bakery in 1982 to provide people with a gateway out of poverty and a path to self-sufficiency.

The award was accepted by Greyston spokesman Dion Drew.

Greyston is known for its "open-hiring" practices, where anyone can sign up regardless of background.

Its integrated network of programs provide jobs, workforce development, child care, after-school programs and community gardens. It reaches more than 5,000 community members every year.

The bakery produces brownies for Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods.

Glassman was one of three entrepreneurs who were credited at the ceremony with creating significant social impact through game-changing business models.

The other recipients of the 2016 award were: Gavin Armstrong, founder of Lucky Iron Fish; and Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

The recipients “are truly positive disruptors," said Cheryl Kiser, executive director of The Lewis Institute and the Babson Social Innovation Lab.

"From architecting the notion of food banking to designing an elegant solution for iron deficiency to championing open hiring as an economic and social value driver, this year's recipients are recognized for setting in motion breakthrough interactions that lead to social innovations at their best," Kiser said.

According to the college, Armstrong's social enterprise strives to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation -- fish-shaped iron ingots that are placed in cooking pots to leach dietary iron into the water and food.

Bolling was one of the original architects of the food banking movement. As executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank from 1979 to 2015, he applied that critical thinking as a tool to address social and community issues, the college said.

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