Father Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in 1992 as a way to rehabilitate gang members. It has grown into a $12 million a year business with a bakery, clothing line, farmer’s market, catering, and more. He has helped thousands leave their pasts and start new lives in the seriously dangerous Dolores Mission area of Los Angeles. He also just presided over his 186th funeral of someone killed in street violence.
Pandodaily, which covers Silicon Valley start-ups, profiles Boyle and Homeboy Industries, saying this is a start-up that really has made a difference.
In Homeboy Industries, Boyle has created a shining example of the power of social enterprise. While the group may be financed by donations and grants, rather than venture capital, it’s creating jobs and changing lives.
“As you watch folks, especially those at the margins, as they discover their truth, as they inhabit that truth – no bullet can pierce it. No four prison walls can’t keep it out, and death can’t touch it,” Boyle said in his closing remarks last evening.
The Catholic Church almost always re-assigns priests after several years in an area. They tried to do so once with Boyle and met with so much protest that they rescinded, a measure of how much the community treasures him.