Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen are the smiling faces once found on every container of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The Burlington, Vt. company’s co-founders have become as famous for their charitable work as they are for Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey.
Here Jerry talks about his company’s support of Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl® presented by FedEx, the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival to be held this year from noon to 8 p.m. on June 5-7 at Boston’s City Hall Plaza.
What’s the Scooper Bowl all about?
We like to call it New England’s unofficial start to summer. For $10.00 for ages 10 and up and $5.00 for kids ages 3-9, you can eat as much ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet as you want, for as long as you want. Kids under 3 eat free, and you can even get one Scooper pass that gets you in three times for $20!
The event has raised more than $3.3 million for Dana-Farber through its 30 years, and it’s always a great time. The best place to get tickets is online. Come on out!
Ben & Jerry’s has been a sponsoring company at the Scooper Bowl for more than 20 years. How has the event changed over time?
It was much smaller in the old days, and was part of the annual New England Dairy Festival. Everybody who was there, including me, had to do all of the scooping, pick up all the trash, and do everything.
Now, there are 10 companies coming this year with more than 30 different flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet. FedEx is the presenting sponsor, and they are bringing hundreds of volunteers themselves – which is a wonderful gesture.
What do you like best about being a spokesperson for the event?
I get to come down to Boston a little bit before the event, visit radio stations, and bring them ice cream from all the different participants. I chat up the Scooper Bowl on the air, talk about the Jimmy Fund, and mention the different companies involved and what flavors they are bringing. I love bringing the other ice creams around because I get to eat them all! I’m not solely a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream eater. I like to dabble around in other companies and test the different flavors.
How do you feel about promoting your competitors?
That is a real joy. During the rest of the year we are in friendly competition with other ice cream companies, but during the Scooper Bowl we all work cooperatively for a much bigger and more important cause than just selling ice cream.
How did your company get so involved in giving back?
I think a lot of it was growing up in the 1960s. When we got into business, we started to understand that business is a powerful part of society that should use its power not only to make money, but also to serve the community.
Not counting the Scooper Bowl, do you eat a lot of ice cream yourself?
I eat some ice cream every day. What I don’t tell people is that I eat it by the pint. We don’t recommend this. You can sometimes substitute ice cream for a meal, but I don’t advise doing this for more than one meal a day.