Greyston Foundation: Case Study


Company Name: Greyston Foundation

Tax Status: 501c3

Company Stage: Established Non-profit

Headquarters Location: Yonkers, NY


Zen Master Bernie Glassman founded Greyston Bakery in the Bronx, NY in 1982. The bakery’s mission was to give opportunities to ‘hard-to-employ’ individuals via its groundbreaking open door policy, in which employment was offered regardless of education, experience, previous incarceration, homelessness or drug use. Since then, Greyston has grown into a comprehensive community development organization in southwest Yonkers, NY, where one in three residents live below the poverty line. Greyston’s mission is to create thriving communities through the practice and promotion of Open Hiring™. In addition to the for-profit bakery, which acts as the foundation’s largest revenue stream and focal point of its mission, Greyston offers workforce development programs and day care. They also operate Issan House, housing for the formerly homeless living with HIV/AIDS, and a community garden. These additional programs grew out of the need for parallel support services for the bakery’s Open Hires, but now serve the wider community as well. Throughout the years, Greyston has continued to act in accordance with Zen Master Glassman’s proclamation, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.”



Greyston’s practice of Open Hiring™ has had immense positive impact on the southwest Yonkers community. However, because they only have one, relatively small bakery, their impact is not widespread. They recognize the potential Open Hiring™ has to disrupt the cycle of poverty, but are not able to open additional bakeries because of cost and customer limits. To widen their impact, Greyston wants to spread Open Hiring™ to other organizations. To do this, they are developing the ‘Center for Open Hiring™, and engaged an Inspiring Capital Fellow to help develop the business case to begin customer outreach and introduce Open Hiring™ advisory services as a new revenue stream.



The Fellow’s primary goal was to produce a report that analyzes the business benefits of Open Hiring™ to present to prospective customers, including an analysis of the benefits, perceived risks, and an comprehensive assessment of the Talent Acquisition market.

Through a series of organizational interviews, the Fellow produced a report which will serve as the basis for a Customer Acquisition Strategy, the Business case for Open Hiring™, and which will support promotional materials and grant applications. The market summary included insights about which industries are most likely to adopt Open Hiring™, based on fit, profit margins, and willingness to pursue social endeavors. With these deliverables, Greyston will be able to target early adopters and present them with well-founded evidence of the feasibility and financial benefits of Open Hiring™. Expected outcomes of the project include customer acquisition, increased access to funding, and increased internal efficiency in marketing and selling new initiatives.