LOS ANGELES - The business of the famed Homeboy Industries through the eyes, and book, by its CEO Thomas Vozzo.
He's a global business executive who went to volunteer at the nonprofit aimed at gang intervention and rehabilitation. Nine years later, he’s sharing what he’s learned in a book titled The Homeboy Way: A radical approach to business and life.
"And after eight years of working with the poor, forgotten and demonized people of our society, I’ve come to learn that I didn’t really know as much about life as I thought.," Vozzo said.
Vozzo came to Homeboy Industries to volunteer after he retired. The beloved founder of Homeboy Industries, Father Greg Boyle, asked him to take the job as CEO. By its own definition, "Homeboy Industries is the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world."
Its Chinatown-Union Station location is also known for its Homeboy Bakery and Homegirl Cafe. It’s about developing a skill set and jobs, with employees who may have come from rival gang neighborhoods.
The bakery churns out croissants, cookies, pastries and breads. The storefront Homegirl Café serves chilaquiles, tacos, salads, and their famous coffees. Everyone working there has worked the program and is a Homeboy Industries success story.
Vozzo has reason to share his story. He’s "bringing the Homeboy Way to life as the perfect anecdote to the massive tidal currents of social injustice and inequities."
He believes the business world can help curb the poverty rate.
"What Homeboy has taught me is that we need to do business differently," Vozzo said.
This story is part of FOX 11’s Community Champions Series. Homeboy Industries is among the 56 organizations named ahead of Super Bowl LVI to receive a grant by LA’s Super Bowl Host Committee. Ahead of the big game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, each nonprofit was named a Legacy Champion and given a $10,000 grant.