New York Life has a longstanding record of supporting organizations that support the Black community. During the last 20 years, we have provided more than $25 million to such organizations including:    

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Being a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, providing $1 million to help the museum open its doors in 2016, in addition to donating an additional $500,000 to the museum earlier this year. 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  In 2016, providing a $1 million grant to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for general support to help it further its mission to achieve racial justice and equality. In 2019, providing an additional $1.5 million to help modernize its digital archive and support its 80th anniversary campaign. In June 2020, we donated  an additional $1 million to help support their important work.
  • BET-United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Relief Fund. Donating $400,000 in 2020 to the BET-United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Relief Fund to support African American communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York.
  • Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's One Thousand Churches. Forming a partnership with Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's One Thousand Churches Connected to provide financial education seminars at community churches across the United States, and providing annual grants of $120,000 to support the Cirilo McSween-New York Life-PUSH for Excellence Scholarships that provide educational support and scholarships for African American youth.
  • Eagle Academy Foundation. Helping Eagle Academy Foundation embark on a network-wide expansion of its summer programming called Summer SOAR (Sustaining Our Academic Results) for middle school scholars, and assisting to complete the planning phase of the Eagle Institute, which is designed to assist schools in other geographies with a similar mission. Last year we provided a $250,000 grant to help fund the Academy’s summer enrichment programs for middle school students and training programs for educators, focusing on supporting the educational needs of young men of color. This was our third major grant to the Academy, with total grants now totaling more than $850,000. 
     

New York Life is also committed to initiatives that study and explore the Black experience, with a focus on helping Black Americans research their history and ancestry, and promoting education on Black history.  Examples include:


  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Nearly 20 years ago, we provided The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with the original company archival records of insurance policies our predecessor company, Nautilus Insurance Company, sold to owners of slaves in an effort to help enable a greater understanding of slavery in America. The company also donated more than $1.8 million over seven years to create the New York Life/Schomburg Center Junior Scholars Program, which educates African-American youth on African-American culture and history. This year, New York Life donated an additional $350,000 to further support the Center’s programs and provide support for general operations. 
  • PBS series. Sponsoring two PBS television series, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” and “Slavery and the Making of America,” and as part of the sponsorships, funding  a website for educators on the Jim Crow era and other educational efforts.
  • Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. Donating $10 million to establish The New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CUNY.
  • International African American Museum. Donating $100,000 to the International African American Museum to support the development of the museum, specifically for the Center for Family History, which people will use to uncover their personal ancestry, and ultimately to provide a center of learning and commemoration on one of the most sacred sites of African American history in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Periwinkle Humanities Initiative. Donating $100,000 to the Periwinkle Humanities Initiative (PHI), a public humanities and engagement initiative dedicated to preserving the public history, memory, and cultural heritage of underrepresented narratives—primarily the lives of formerly enslaved Americans. PHI develops and produces public engagement initiatives to foster a public understanding of these narratives and their legacies. The New York Life grant funds the branding identity of What is Sacred?—a national public engagement campaign to establish the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans.
  • Association for the Study of African American Life & History. Donating $100,000 to the Association for the Study of African American Life & History to help it expand its outreach to train and support family reunion groups in conducting, sharing, and preserving oral family histories.  


Recognizing the systemic inequities in the educational system, since 2014, New York Life has dedicated more than $50 million in Foundation grants and programs to support middle school youth students, specifically in the out-of-school time period.  We know that students who begin high school well prepared are four times as likely to graduate and achieve post-secondary success. Despite this clear need, only a small percentage of programs target middle school students, leaving many without a safe, productive and enriching place to go after school and during the summer months. A sampling of such grants includes:

  • $5.3 million to City Year to support its after-school program, which provides middle school students with academic support and skill-building enrichment activities
  • $3.6 million to Higher Achievement to support its after-school program to close the opportunity gap during the pivotal middle school years and to focus on the long arc of success for scholars beyond high school, to college matriculation and graduation.
  • $8 million to BellXcel to serve middle school scholars, not only through its evidence-based summer program model but also through BELL After School.
  • $1.9 million to helping Horizons National support its summer program for middle school students.
  • $1 million to support summer reading programs in New York City at the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens public libraries.   



Learn more about our past and present here.