B Companies Invert the Profit Motive

A B company exists, not to make a profit, but to do economic and social good. For instance, Greystone Bakery, a B company in the Bronx, has the following mission: the bakery sees its primary role as hiring people, to provide employment for those looking for a pathway out of poverty, and serving the greater good, which the bakery does by making the best brownies around. Profits at Greystone mean the company can hire more people; profits are not channeled into  executive bonuses. In addition to its hiring mission, the bakery has expanded its role in response to the needs of its employees and the community.

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.

The Dalai Lama praises Greystone, pointing to it as an example of what a company can do to alter inequities and close the gap between rich and poor across the globe.

Greystone’s founder, Roshi Bernard Glassman, a McDonnell Douglas engineer turned Zen Buddhist, started the bakery in an effort to bring together his belief in contemplative practice, social and economic justice, and the street. To read more about the founder’s philosophy, click here and here.

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