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  • Making a difference in the African American community

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Helping you build, protect and preserve wealth now and for future generations

The African American Community Empowerment Plan
  • Together we can create a legacy today that will live for generations. New York Life’s agents are committed to creating $50 billion of wealth in the African American community. We’ll do it by raising awareness about the important role life insurance can play in creating legacies.

    New York Life has more than 1,100 agents serving the African American community. Our agents are dedicated men and women who have pledged to help empower the African American communities they serve by touching the lives of 200,000 families, and illustrating for them how purchasing at least $250,000 of life insurance today will empower future generations. Here’s how it works:

    200,000 (families) x $250,000 (face amount) = $50 billion (future income)

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What matters most to you?
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  • New York Life’s African American agents have a long-standing history of leadership and service dating back to 1957 when the company hired Cirilio A. McSween, the industry’s first African American agent.

    New York Life agents receive top-notch training and development through the company’s training program. In addition, we encourage and strongly support growth opportunities into management.

    New York Life has over 1,100 agents serving the African American communities around the country. By embracing the legacy of trailblazers that came before them, New York Life’s agents continue to lead the industry. As an agent with New York Life, you can help members of the African American community obtain the protection they need today, and help them build a better tomorrow, for their families and communities.

    If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, a career-driven mindset, aspire to significant goals, and have a passion for building and succeeding in your own practice, a career as an agent or manager at New York Life may be just the path you are looking for. EOE M/F/V/D

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  • 1800s

    On April 19, 1848, approximately 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation, the trustees of New York Life’s predecessor, Nautilus, voted to end the sale of policies that insured the lives of slaves. Nautilus had pursued such sales between 1846 and 1848, which accounted for less than 5% of the premiums earned for that period. The first death claim paid by Nautilus was on the life of a slave.

    1. 1842
    2. 1843
    3. 1843
    4. 1845
    5. 1846
    6. 1847
    7. 1848
    8. 1849
    9. 1850
    10. 1851
  • 1950s

    New York Life hires Cirilo A. McSween, a black Panamanian immigrant, who becomes both the company’s and the industry’s first African American Agent.

    During his first year McSween sells more than $1 million in life insurance and qualifies for the Million Dollar Round Table, an industry sales association, and for 26 consecutive years thereafter, making him the first African American to achieve lifetime membership in the prestigious MDRT.

    1. 1951
    2. 1952
    3. 1953
    4. 1954
    5. 1955
    6. 1956
    7. 1957
    8. 1958
    9. 1959
    10. 1960
  • 1960s

    Samuel “The Colonel” Anderson becomes our first African American general manager. After a 22-year military career Anderson joined the company as an Agent in April 1963. In 1965, he was appointed assistant manager and three years later, general manager. In 1969, he wins the President’s Trophy and goes on to become the President of the National Association of Life Underwriters.

    In 1962, New York Life begins running an ad series created for the African American community in Ebony, a magazine created for black readers.

    1. 1954
    2. 1955
    3. 1956
    4. 1957
    5. 1958
    6. 1959
    7. 1960
    8. 1961
    9. 1962
    10. 1963
  • 1970s

    In 1972 New York Life appoints its first black board member, Franklin Thomas, the president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corp. in New York City, a nonprofit organization founded by the late Senator Robert Kennedy.

    1. 1964
    2. 1965
    3. 1966
    4. 1967
    5. 1968
    6. 1969
    7. 1970
    8. 1971
    9. 1972
    10. 1973
  • 1980s

    In 1980, Cassius Williams is promoted to Superintendent of Agencies. He previously served as an Agent, assistant manager and general manager, and eventually becomes the first African American to be promoted to regional vice president for Agency. He later serves as managing partner of the Greater Atlanta GO, before retiring after 32 years of service.

    During the 1980s, Margaret B. Young, serves on our board of directors. Formerly a professor of educational psychology, Young wrote several books for children about the African American experience. Her husband, Whitney M. Young Jr. served as the executive director of the National Urban League, from 1961-1971.

    1. 1974
    2. 1975
    3. 1976
    4. 1977
    5. 1978
    6. 1979
    7. 1980
    8. 1981
    9. 1982
    10. 1983
  • 1990s

    New York Life provides consistent support to a wide variety of organizations and causes supporting the African American community, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City, National Urban League, Los Angeles Urban League and Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

    New York Life and Black Enterprise Magazine co-sponsor the African American Student Scholarship, awarding $10,000 toward the college education of deserving high school seniors.

    1. 1984
    2. 1985
    3. 1986
    4. 1987
    5. 1988
    6. 1989
    7. 1990
    8. 1991
    9. 1992
    10. 1993
  • 2002

    New York Life Agent Rashford Mendes becomes the first African American president of the NYC Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

    The New York Life Foundation funds 38 internships for African American students to work on Capitol Hill.

    New York Life partners with the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to provide financial education seminars to African Americans through community churches.

    The company sponsors three projects focusing on the Jim Crow era: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow website, a painting exhibition, and an award-winning PBS series.

    1. 1996
    2. 1997
    3. 1998
    4. 1999
    5. 2000
    6. 2001
    7. 2002
    8. 2003
    9. 2004
    10. 2005
  • 2002

    New York Life initiates funding of the Congressional Black Caucus undergraduate student internship program, donating $925,000 over a 12-year period.

    New York Life provides The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the original, 155-year-old company archival records of insurance policies sold to owners of slaves to help improve a greater understanding of slavery in America. The company also donates more than $1 million over four years to create the New York Life/Schomburg Center Juniors Scholar Program, which educates African American youth on African American culture and history.

    1. 1996
    2. 1997
    3. 1998
    4. 1999
    5. 2000
    6. 2001
    7. 2002
    8. 2003
    9. 2004
    10. 2005
  • 2003

    The company establishes the African American Market Unit of the Agency Cultural Markets Department with the goal of increasing sales to the African American community, as well as improving African American Agent recruiting, productivity and retention.

    New York Life is named by Family Digest as one of the “Best Companies for African Americans.” It was one of nine companies highlighted by the magazine after a survey of 400 companies.

    1. 1997
    2. 1998
    3. 1999
    4. 2000
    5. 2001
    6. 2002
    7. 2003
    8. 2004
    9. 2005
    10. 2006
  • 2004

    We establish the Cirilo A. McSween - New York Life - PUSH Excel Scholarship Program to benefit college students from underserved communities in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, and metropolitan New York who are majoring in business and who play an active role in their communities.

    1. 1998
    2. 1999
    3. 2000
    4. 2001
    5. 2002
    6. 2003
    7. 2004
    8. 2005
    9. 2006
    10. 2007
  • 2005

    The New York Life Foundation awards a three-year, $600,000 grant to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the world’s leading research facilities devoted to the preservation of materials on the global African experience.

    New York Life is the sole corporate underwriter of Slavery and the Making of America, the Emmy and Christopher Award-winning four-part series from Thirteen/WNET New York, which premiers on PBS in February.

    1. 1999
    2. 2000
    3. 2001
    4. 2002
    5. 2003
    6. 2004
    7. 2005
    8. 2006
    9. 2007
    10. 2008
  • 2006

    New York Life’s African American Market Unit hosts its first national conference in Las Vegas, honoring four individuals, including Cirilo McSween, Samuel Anderson, Cassius Williams and Carl Peterman, with a “Trailblazer Award” in recognition of their lifetime achievements in the insurance industry, the African American community and at New York Life.

    The New York Life Foundation donates $10 million to the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York to support students focusing on African American issues.

    1. 2000
    2. 2001
    3. 2002
    4. 2003
    5. 2004
    6. 2005
    7. 2006
    8. 2007
    9. 2008
    10. 2009
  • 2008

    New York Life establishes five employee resource groups, including the African American Employee Resource Group.

    1. 2002
    2. 2003
    3. 2004
    4. 2005
    5. 2006
    6. 2007
    7. 2008
    8. 2009
    9. 2010
    10. 2011
  • 2011

    New York Life provides a three-year, $600,000 grant to help fund the endowment of the Colin Powell Center.

    The African American Market Unit launches “The $50 Billion Empowerment Plan,“ an initiative aiming to empower, educate, and insure 200,000 families in the African American community with a life insurance policy face amount of $250,000.

    1. 2005
    2. 2006
    3. 2007
    4. 2008
    5. 2009
    6. 2010
    7. 2011
    8. 2012
    9. 2013
    10. 2014
  • 2013

    The company’s African American Market Unit celebrates its 10th year of serving the life insurance and financial services needs of the community through more than 1,000 African American agents, nearly double the number of agents in 2003.

    The African American Market Unit, in conjunction with the King Center's celebration of the 50th anniversary of “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech proclaims August 28 as Cirilo A. McSween Community Empowerment Day. The day honors New York Life’s first African American Agent, who also served as the treasurer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for Dr. Martin Luther King.

    1. 2007
    2. 2008
    3. 2009
    4. 2010
    5. 2011
    6. 2012
    7. 2013
    8. 2014
    9. 2015
    10. 2016
  • 2015

    New York Life makes a $1 million contribution to help establish the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

    The company donates $1.89 million over three years to enable Higher Achievement, an organization that helps underserved youth achieve academic excellence, to expand its programs to help middle school students reach their full potential.

    1. 2008
    2. 2009
    3. 2010
    4. 2011
    5. 2012
    6. 2013
    7. 2014
    8. 2015
    9. 2016
    10. 2017
  • 2016

    For the fourth consecutive year DiversityInc ranks New York Life as one of the top 50 companies for Diversity. Working Mother magazine also ranks the company one of the Top 25 Best Companies for Multicultural Woman for the sixth consecutive year.

    1. 2009
    2. 2010
    3. 2011
    4. 2012
    5. 2013
    6. 2014
    7. 2015
    8. 2016
    9. 2017
    10. 2018