About Fraternal Benefit Societies
In the beginning, powered by the principle of brotherhood and a belief that each individual has a responsibility for his fellow men and women, fraternal-type organizations developed in ancient Greece and Rome, which offered financial aid to their members in time of sickness and death. More recently the Guilds of England, which were organized as groups with common interests, formed the prototype of our fraternal benefit societies. Although several societies trace their roots back before the Civil War, the origin of the American Fraternal Benefit System is agreed to be in 1868 when the Ancient Order of United Workmen was formed in Pennsylvania. Below is a picture of the founder of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, John Jordon Upchurch, provided by the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum & Library.
The basic principles of brotherhood, good citizenship and the values of human dignity combined with an insurance plan attracted thousands of members to the numerous fraternals chartered during the late 1800’s.
So, Fraternal Benefit Societies in the U.S. and Canada, with an aggregate membership of nearly 10 million persons of various ethnic, religious, and vocational backgrounds, have been an integral part of America’s social fabric for more than a century. While life styles have changed, the basic needs of men and women – both social and economic – continue to be served by societies of the far-reaching Fraternal Benefit System, carrying on the traditions and ideals of its historic beginnings. Today America’s fraternal benefit societies represent one of the nation’s largest and most effective volunteer networks. In thousands of communities across the U.S., members finance, organize, and deliver a wide variety of social services to those in need. Fraternal benefit societies also help secure their members’ financial futures by offering them an array of financial services, including life insurance and annuities.
America’s fraternal benefit societies are organized collectively and work together through the American Fraternal Alliance. Visit the American Fraternal Alliance Website to learn more about Fraternalism and Fraternal Societies today.