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He’s the Ben & Jerry’s of Greek Yogurt

Photo: Johannes Arlt

Brands and products are not created equal, and few companies put an emphasis on doing good, while making great products. Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia are two companies that demonstrate a deep sense of altruism while making great products. I’d add Hamdi Ulukaya to the list of altruistic entrepreneurs. Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant who settled in New York State in the 1990s to pursue a college education, is also the founder of Chobani yogurt. Ulukaya employs hundreds of people in his two US facilities, many of whom are refugees from settlement camps in Greece. Ulukaya—with the help of his employees—has grown this Greek yogurt business from nothing to $1.5 billion in annual sales. Not only is he the owner of Chobani, he is also the founder of the Tent Foundation. Tent was established in 2015 with the mission to help corporations that are interested in providing employment and resettlement to the displaced. At a speaking engagement last year he said “The minute a refugee has a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee.” This is a very powerful humanistic statement from a very successful and caring entrepreneur. Last year, Ulukaya signed a giving pledge to give away a majority of his fortune to assist refugees, proving that he is the Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of active cultures and fermented milk.

Mr. Ulukaya’s mission has not been without risk. Read David Geller’s New York Times article from October, 2016 for more on Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani, and refugee resettlement.

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