Our Trailblazing, Mission-Driven Founders

As we reflect upon the contribution of women in our history, we find a rich tapestry of courage and progress woven through the years. Not only do we celebrate these achievements; we are also reminded of the journey women have undertaken to secure their rights in society, especially within the sphere of insurance and finance. We celebrate the pillars of faith, courage, unselfishness, endurance, and humility – the values of our trailblazing founders who carved a path for generations to follow.

Faith in the Sisterhood

Our founding women chose the name Royal Neighbors of America to adhere to the belief, “Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far off.” (Proverbs 27:10). Combining the biblical word “neighbor” with the word “royal,” signified their belief in the nobility of their work.

Our founders also had an unwavering faith in the collective strength of women. They understood that together with God, women could overcome any obstacle.

The Beginnings of Empowerment – Courage in the Face of Convention

Established as a membership organization in 1895, Royal Neighbors became a beacon for the empowerment of women, paving the way for financial independence when such ideas were revolutionary. Our organization symbolizes much more than insurance – it represents a collective strength, a sisterhood that has fought to guarantee security for women and their families. Our trailblazing founders envisioned a world where women wielded economic power alongside men so they could claim a stake in society to care for their families, cultivate goodness, and make a difference in their neighborhoods.

Historical Struggle for Financial Inclusion

For decades, women faced numerous restrictions when it came to owning property or getting life insurance – barriers constructed by a society that failed to recognize their autonomy. Our founding women emerged to champion the protection of women, ensuring that they were not left unprotected.

We were one of the first fraternal benefit societies to recognize mortality studies establishing that women live longer than men and to reflect that difference in life insurance premiums.

Unselfishness Births a Tool of Liberation

Life insurance became a critical tool of liberation for women. It was unselfishness that drove our founders to create opportunities for others. They knew that life insurance was more than a certificate; it was a promise—a promise of security and peace of mind for families. Historically, life insurance was out of reach for many, with wives unable to get life insurance without the consent of their husbands. Over the years, this changed dramatically, symbolizing a shift towards equality and recognition of a woman’s right to secure her and her family’s financial future.

Endurance in Overcoming Established Societal Barriers

In the early 20th century, the concept of life insurance for children was revolutionary, representing a profound departure from conventional notions of financial planning and familial responsibility.

At the heart of this movement were women who understood the pivotal role that financial security played in the well-being of their families. For many women, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities, access to life insurance for their children was not just a matter of economic prudence, but a means of asserting agency and autonomy in a society that often relegated them to secondary roles in financial decision-making.

The establishment of Royal Neighbors as one of the first fraternal benefit societies to offer life insurance for children in 1918 marked a watershed moment in this struggle for empowerment. By extending insurance coverage to children, Royal Neighbors not only provided families with a safety net in the event of tragedy but also recognized the inherent value of children’s lives and their future potential.

This was a catalyst for broader social change, challenging traditional gender norms and affirming women’s rightful place as active participants in shaping their families’ financial futures. It was a testament to the endurance, resilience, and determination of women who refused to be confined by societal expectations, instead, striving to create a more equitable and secure world for themselves and their loved ones.

Humility in Progress

In 1911, it was noted at our National Convention in Denver, Colorado, that the organization’s full force was put behind universal suffrage so that “we might carry home to our states our influence, that we promote this great movement for women.”

It is fascinating to look at the timeline of women’s rights over money and how it intersects with the world of insurance. In all of our progress, we also see humility remains at the core. It is a reminder that every milestone is a collective achievement, one that builds on the sacrifices and victories of those who came before us.

A Celebration of Values

Women’s History Month provides us with a platform to celebrate these milestones, share stories of inspirational figures, and educate coming generations about the struggles and triumphs of our foremothers.

Women’s History Month is more than a period of reflection; it is a vibrant celebration of the values that have shaped Royal Neighbors of America since day one. It is about honoring the faith, courage, unselfishness, endurance, and humility of women who have fought tirelessly for equality and recognition.

The Royal Neighbors mission is rooted in these five values with each one represented as a petal on our logo.

Gratitude for Those Who Came Before Us

This month, and every month, we stand in gratitude for the women who have paved the way with their quiet strength and resolute spirit. As we celebrate women, we take inspiration from the bravery and resilience of countless women who have shaped not only the realm of insurance and finance but every facet of modern life.

Read fascinating stories of our rich history.

Explore our Digital Museum to see artifacts from our first chapter to today’s leadership.