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Boyle earned his BA in English from Gonzaga University, an MA in English from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology, and a Sacred Theology Masters degree from the Jesuit School of Theology.
Before founding Homeboy Industries, Father Greg taught at Loyola High School and worked with Christian Base Communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He was appointed as Pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1986 where he served through 1992. Following this, Fr. Greg spent time as Chaplain of the Islas Marias Penal Colony in Mexico and Folsom Prison, before returning to Los Angeles and Dolores Mission.
Homeboy Industries traces its roots to Dolores Mission's “Jobs For A Future Campaign”, a campaign developed by Father Greg in 1988 with the Church Base Communities of Dolores Mission. The campaign later became the "Jobs for a Future" (JFF) program. In an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Fr. Greg and the community developed positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a day care program, a community organizing project, Comité Pro Paz en el Barrio, and finding legitimate employment for young people. JFF’s success demonstrated that many gang members are eager to leave the dangerous and destructive life on the 'streets.'
In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg launched the first business: Homeboy Bakery, with a mission to create an environment that provided training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. The success of the Bakery created the groundwork for additional businesses, thus prompting JFF to become an independent non-profit organization, Homeboy Industries, in 2001. Today Homeboy Industries’ nonprofit economic development enterprises include Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, Homeboy Diner, Homeboy Farmers Markets, Homeboy Plumbing and Homegirl Café. Homeboy Industries, is now the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the United States.
Fr. Greg is also a consultant to youth service and governmental agencies, policy-makers and employers. Fr. Boyle serves as a member of the National Gang Center Advisory Board (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention). He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles.
In 2010, Father Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, a book recollecting his 20+ years in the barrio, was published. It received rave blurbs from many, ranging from human rights activists like Kerry Kennedy to actor Martin Sheen.
- "Priest Fights Gangs With 'Boundless Compassion'" Interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air conducted May 19, 2010, broadcast May 20, 2010; the birthday, and the delayed broadcast date, were mentioned in the audio only. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Profile from official website, www.homeboy-industries.org
- "Dolores Mission's mission among the poor" National Catholic Reporter January 8, 1993
- "Priest Fights Gangs With 'Boundless Compassion'" Interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, May 20, 2010; book excerpt on Web site; published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Simon & Schuster page, Tattoos on the Heart "Praise" section. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- "Father Gregory Boyle". California Museum. 09 Sept 2011.
- "8th Annual César Chávez Convocation". UC Santa Cruz Campus Events Calendar. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
- Father Greg's profile at Homeboy Industries
- St. Anthony Messenger
- Los Angeles City Beat Interview
- University of Detroit Mercy
- El padre y los homies, an audio documentary about Father Boyle and Homeboy Industries
- Tattoos on the Heart Amazon.com listing
- Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, 20 May 2010
- On Point interview with Tom Ashbrook, recorded May 13, 2011; broadcast May 16, 2011