Father Greg

About Father Greg Boyle

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries. 

A native of Los Angeles, Father Boyle entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1972 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1984.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English from Gonzaga University, a master’s degree in English from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Weston School of Theology, and a Master of Sacred Theology degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Father Boyle spent a year living and working with Christian base communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  He spent another year serving as a chaplain at the Islas Marias Federal Penal Colony in Mexico and at Folsom State Prison in California.

From 1986 to 1992, Father Boyle was pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles, at the time the poorest Catholic parish in the city, located near two large public housing projects and the territories of numerous gangs.  

By 1988, in an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Father Boyle and parish and community members began to develop positive opportunities for them, including establishing an alternative school and day care program, and seeking out legitimate employment, calling this initial effort Jobs for a Future.  “Gang violence is about a lethal absence of hope,” Father Boyle has said.  “Nobody has ever met a hopeful kid who joined a gang.” 

In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Jobs for a Future and Proyecto Pastoral, a community-organizing project begun at the parish, launched their first social enterprise business, Homeboy Bakery.  In the ensuing years, the success of the bakery created the groundwork for additional social enterprise businesses, leading Jobs for a Future in 2001 to become an independent nonprofit organization, Homeboy Industries.

Today, Homeboy Industries employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to over 10,000 men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.

Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, which was named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly and received the PEN Center USA 2011 Creative Nonfiction Award. 

Father Boyle is the subject of Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s 2012 documentary, G-Dog.  He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  In 2014, the White House named him a Champion of Change. He was named 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award by the James Beard Foundation, the national culinary-arts organization.

Click here to watch him speak.