Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's early life, age, social activism, net worth, updates

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's early life, age, social activism, net worth, updates

Ben Cohen is a businessman, activist, and philanthropist from the United States. He co-founded the ice cream firm Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc, with his longtime friend Jerry Greenfield. The ice cream company has developed into a $300 million enterprise and a model of American commercial success. Ben has also written several best-selling books, documenting his success and ventures.

Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen talks to reporters during a press conference to announce a nationwide contest to search for an ambassador of the Lick Global Warming campaign on May 17, 2005. Photo: Scott Gries
Source: Getty Images

Ben Cohen is well-known for his business pursuits, but how much do you know about his personal life? Discover the path that this intelligent entrepreneur travelled to achieve his success.

Ben Cohen profile's summary

  • Full name: Bennett Cohen
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: March 18, 1951
  • Age: 70 years (as of 2021)
  • Zodiac sign: Pisces
  • Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York
  • Current residence: New York
  • Profession: Businessman
  • Marital status: Separated
  • Spouse: Unknown
  • Education: The Merrick Avenue Middle School, Colgate University, Skidmore College's University Without Walls
  • Parents: Frances and Irving
  • Nationality: American
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Net worth: $150 million

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Ben Cohen's biography

Cohen was born on March 18, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York City. He was raised in Merrick, Long Island, by Jewish parents Frances and Irving. Cohen's age is 70 years old as of 2021.

Not much is known of Ben's early life apart from that he met a friend and future business partner, Jerry Greenfield, in 1963.

Education

The Merrick Avenue Middle School was Cohen's school of choice when he was younger. After working as an ice cream vendor, he temporarily attended Colgate University in upstate New York in 1969. It is in university where he developed a passion for poetry.

Skidmore College's University Without Walls was his first stop in 1971, where he studied poetry and jewellery. In 1974, he graduated from college and worked as a janitor at Saratoga Springs, New York, to make a living. In addition, he studied at the New York University School of Law in New York.

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Career

Ben Cohen
American ice cream makers Ben Cohen (L) Jerry Greenfield, founders of the brand, Ben & Jerry's give out ice creams for free in their shop in the centre of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Ade Johnson
Source: Getty Images

In 1988, Ben and his longtime friend, Jerry, started a homemade ice cream parlour (Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream) in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. The friends came up with this business idea while at Merrick Avenue Middle School. The residents of Burlington accepted Ben & Jerry's quite well, and in no time, it was a significant hit.

Ben worked as a scooper, crepe maker, truck driver, director of marketing, sales director, CEO, and chairman. Ben & Jerry's was sold to Unilever in 2000, despite his efforts to maintain the company independently.

Soon after, Ben founded Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, a coalition of 700 business leaders advocating for a shift in federal budget priorities. He founded TrueMajority, an internet political activist organisation, a few years later.

Social activism

On April 18, 2016, Ben Cohen was detained in Washington, D.C., during a Democracy Awakening demonstration. Cohen is an outspoken advocate for Democratic politicians and progressive causes. For example, in the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries, he backed Dennis Kucinich. In 2012, he assisted in introducing the Stamp Stampede campaign, which aimed to stamp messages on the country's money.

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Personal life

When did the two friends Ben and Jerry meet? They met while in seventh grade and have been buddies ever since. The two lived together in New York after graduating from college, and it is here the idea of the ice cream business materialised. Initially, the pair had considered opening a restaurant but got discouraged after learning that eateries were going out of business.

They stumbled upon the idea of Bagles and ice creams which were becoming popular in big cities back then. After an inquiry, they decide to venture into homemade ice cream after finding out that the Bagles business would require $40,000. So they took a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making and started making their ice cream in the kitchen.

After discovering that somebody had opened an ice cream parlour in their location, the pair moved shop and ended up in Vermont. It is here that they started their ice cream business with a saving of $6000.

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Are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield married?

No. Ben is separated while Jerry is married to Elizabeth Skarie and have a son together. The rumour that the two friends were a couple came from their ice cream brand 'hubby hubby' that depicted a male cartoon couple kissing a wedding. However, the real reason behind the name was the company's way of recognising and supporting gay unions. The original title was 'chubby hubby' before the rebrand.

What did Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield invent?

Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield at Ben & Jerry's ONE Cheesecake Brownie campaign on April 7, 2008, in Downtown Burbank, California. Photo: Rebecca Sapp
Source: Getty Images

Cohen and Greenfield invented the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. ice cream scoop business at a remodelled gas station in Burlington, Vermont, in May 1978. They opened the company with $8,000 of their own money and $4,000 of borrowed cash.

Ben Cohen net worth

What is Ben Cohen's net worth? His net worth as of 2021 stands at $150 million. Cohen's primary source of wealth comes from the ice cream business. Cohen made a fortune after the sale of the ice cream firm to Unilever for $325 million in the year 2000.

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Where is Ben Cohen now?

Cohen is currently involved in activism and, in July 2021, announced his support for the boycott of sales of Ben & Jerry's products in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. In addition, the Ben Cohen ice cream business is a worldwide success and is the first ice cream brand to go into space.

Ben Cohen is a renowned businessman and activist. His ice cream business has developed into an international brand that represents the oppressed and the minority. Cohen himself is known for his activism and standing for values he believes in. Ben has remained resilient and focused despite facing hurdles along his journey.

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