BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- From meager beginnings, to national prominence to global awareness the two kids who met in Junior High School and took the American dream of developing their own successful business had thought they'd seen it all. More than thirty years after they opened their first ice cream scoop shop in a dilapidated gas station in one of the coldest states, Vermont, Cofounders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield found themselves humbled and honored this weekend as they accepted The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center Annual Salute to Greatness Award.
"First and foremost, it is an incredible and humbling honor," said Jerry Greenfield about the recognition and nomination. "We grew up in a time where Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most significant figures of our generation. He inspired us to embrace peace and non-violence," said Greenfield. "To be recognized not only as individuals, but for the work of Ben & Jerry's as a company is really one of the most significant moments of my life."
The King Center's Salute to Greatness Award, one of the King Center's highest honors, is presented to individuals and corporate citizens in recognition of outstanding contributions toward building Dr. King's "Beloved Community." The recipients are recognized for achievements that improve the quality of life for all, forge valuable partnerships with the corporate community, and advance the quest for social justice and world peace.
"We are proud to honor you and the Ben & Jerry's corporation for your numerous achievements in business leadership…" stated King Center president Martin Luther King III. The award has been presented to some of America's most distinguished leaders, including Bono, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and King Center Founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change is dedicated to research, education and training in the principles, philosophy and methods of Kingian nonviolence.
"As much as it is an honor for us, it is also an opportunity to focus on the important and unfinished work of Martin Luther King, Jr.," said Cofounder, Ben Cohen. "Today our country is at war, spending vast sums of money that could better be used to fight poverty and what Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to as programs of social uplift. I can think of no greater honor than for all of us to commit to peace, nonviolence, and to continue to hold our leaders accountable to these same principles in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s memory," added Cohen.
Ben & Jerry's produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who pledge not to treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH.* The company states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry's products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry's, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. The goal of the social mission is to integrate a concern for the community into as many day to day business operations as possible while maintaining the product and economic missions. The recent announcement to move to all available Fair Trade ingredients by the end of 2013 is driven by that commitment. For more visit www.benjerry.com.
* The FDA has said no significant difference has been shown and no test can now distinguish between milk from rBGH treated cows and untreated cows. Not all the suppliers of our other ingredients can promise that the milk they use comes from untreated cows.