Business & Entrepreneurship

Andy Rosengarden ’97

Accounting for Taste

Andy Rossendarden is pictured in front of a Ben and Jerry's ice cream poster

Joe Vericker

At a bakery where treats serve the greater good, keeping the fiscal house in order is a sweet gig.

Andy Rosengarden ’97 is chief financial officer of the social enterprise that owns Greyston Bakery, most famously known for the brownies in select Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream flavors. The bakery’s cookies, brownies, and blondies are also sold online and at Whole Foods. (Rosengarden recommends the Snickerdoodle.)

The heart of the bakery is the practice of “open hiring,” the signature effort of the nonprofit Greyston Foundation, which provides a suite of social services in the inner-city community of Yonkers, New York.

“We’re hiring people, no questions asked,” Rosengarden says. “No interviews, nothing. If you want a job, you come in; we give you a job.”

Open hiring is intended to help people who want to work but who struggle to secure jobs that require traditional interviews or background checks. For example, when it comes to filling out job applications, people re-entering the workforce after incarceration or experiencing homelessness can be stymied by questions about a felony record or the lack of a permanent address.

Open hiring, Rosengarden says, can be a path for people to find new opportunities through work — and for life after the bakery.

“We actually like it when people move on,” he says. “Often, they move on for better-paying positions. Also, it allows us to hire more people.”

Rosengarden joined Greyston’s executive team in 2016. After more than 16 years as an auditor and Wall Street investment analyst, he was inspired by his two young children to bring his financial expertise to the nonprofit world.

As the foundation’s CFO, Rosengarden guides the intricate finances of Greyston’s hybrid nonprofit/for-profit organization. He sees to it that corporate donations, community partnerships, and bakery income all go to support programs such as housing, workforce development, 10 community gardens, and about 100 bakery jobs.

He’s also devoting his accounting acumen toward the nonprofit’s expansion effort — the launch of the Center for Open Hiring at Greyston.

“Instead of opening bakeries all across the country or the world, we want to inspire other companies to adopt open hiring,” Rosengarden says. “You have millions of people sitting on the sidelines who want to work. This could change the paradigm in terms of how people are hired, giving [them] opportunities and second chances.”

Published in the Fall 2018 issue


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