Research, scholarship and philanthropy

As one of the nation’s oldest companies, our 171-year history is part of the flawed fabric that is our nation’s past, including the slavery era.  While we recognize that we cannot rewrite history, our past actions have shaped who we are today and driven our ongoing commitment to supporting the African American community. 

In 2002, New York Life donated the original, 155-year-old company archival records of insurance policies sold to owners of slaves to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. We funded two PBS series, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” in 2002 and “Slavery and the Making of America” in 2004, to help provide a greater understanding of this era.  

We provided $10 million to the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at CUNY in 2006 to help introduce more students to issues affecting African Americans and other underserved populations. New York Life is also one of the founding donors of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History, which opened in September 2016, the only national museum devoted to African American history and culture.   

Today New York Life provides significant financial assistance to organizations that directly impact the lives of African Americans.  In 2015 alone the company donated more than $3 million to organizations that focus on African American culture and communities, including funding for organizations like Higher Achievement and Eagle Academy Foundation

Our support of these initiatives and organizations illustrates our longstanding belief that embracing diversity and inclusion is an important contribution we can make to strengthen the fabric of our society. Our diversity and inclusion efforts have been recognized by national publications including Working Mother, DiversityInc and Latina Style.



Further Reading