Discover our mission, read a word from our president, and learn more about what fraternal benefit societies are about.
The purposes of the Alliance shall be to unite men and women who are associated with a fraternal benefit society; to promote the development and growth of the fraternal benefit system; to work in harmony with the American Fraternal Alliance for the welfare of the fraternal benefit system; to defeat any act or movement which is contrary to the best interests of the fraternal benefit system; to create a better understanding of the fraternal benefit system; to exchange ideas for the common good of its members; and to do all other things incidental to and consistent with the mission stated above.
Dear Fraternalist, and those that might have come by this web page for various reasons, welcome!
To those of you that know me, or remember me, I was the President of this organization in 1994 when it was known as the New Jersey Fraternal Congress. Then in 2019, under our new name, the New Jersey-New York Fraternal Alliance, a need arose and once again I had the honor of serving as President for the 2019-20 term of office. Little did I know that the honor would extend to the 2020-21 term of office too.
Then life changed, for everyone, worldwide. We were in the midst of a COVID-19 Pandemic. In March of 2020, the USA shut down, people quarantined, we wore masks and stayed home. Even working from home. ZOOM became a familiar tool. The meeting halls were closed, the lodge meetings canceled, social and fraternal activities ceased. The door to what we do CLOSED!
In the Spring of 2021, with more and more people being vaccinated, our world started to re-open. With caution we left our homes, enjoyed the outdoors, dining as well. Only to become aware of the increasing concerns of the Delta variant of COVID. Those actions that were so quickly put away are coming out of hiding with mask wearing again recommended.
But through it all, your Officers, Board of Directors and Past Presidents managed the business at hand and made strides in renewing and setting new standards for former and current practices. We entertained the Fraternalist of the Year and Youth Achievement Award programs and updated the guidelines; with generosity we made charitable donations and contributions; we brought to you a new website; laid the ground work for a membership drive and all the while, we met on a regular basis by teleconference.
So as your 3rd term President, I am advising that we are planning a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 7, 2021 at the Tropicana with all of the delegates of our member organizations. We have made plans to serve you into the future with our purpose in mind.
As Always & Fraternally,
Bill Swirsding, Pres NJNYFA
What is a Fraternal Benefit Society?
Fraternal benefit societies are membership groups that unite individuals with a common bond, provide them the ability to secure their families’ financial security through a variety of life insurance and investment products, and form one of the nation’s most effective and efficient volunteer networks, delivering billions of dollars of direct financial aid and community service to those who need it most.
Fraternals exemplify the “take care of your own” spirit that helped build America. The common bond between members can be based on religious beliefs, gender, occupation, ethnicity, or shared values. In addition to financial services products, these unique organizations offer members a variety of benefits, such as scholarships, educational programs, travel opportunities and discount programs. Fraternals’ community service activities – both the financial contributions they make to worthy organizations and the structure for the volunteer efforts carried out by their members – are funded by the proceeds generated by the sale of life insurance and other financial services products to members. Because fraternals are “owned” by the members who share a common bond, these charitable activities benefit organizations that mirror the values of the fraternal. The result is “altruism with accountability” since the fraternal must operate responsibly manner to both protect its members financial security and to fulfill its social mission.
Many societies have their roots as mutual aid organizations—founded to serve the needs of immigrants and other underserved groups before the days of government and employer-based health care and retirement programs. Today’s fraternals are focused on serving the needs of others in the communities where their members live and work. Because members are organized into local chapters, fraternals are uniquely positioned to deliver meaningful community services in their own “back yard.” While fraternals provide significant volunteer support to nationally recognized programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics, their most important contributions are made to local groups that couldn’t survive without their support, including food banks, battered women’s shelters, veterans and military organizations, and victims of natural disasters.
All fraternal benefit societies must comply with state and federal regulations, with regard to their financial services, and must be licensed by the insurance department of the state or states in which they operate. Fraternal benefit societies are recognized as 501(c)(8), not-for-profit fraternal organizations, by the Internal Revenue Service. According to a 1993 Treasury Department study, the many charitable and benevolent activities of the fraternal benefit system – estimated to be over $2 billion annually – would be severely curtailed if the 100-year-old fraternal tax exemption were repealed. Clearly, fraternals continue to deliver significant value to their members, the hundreds of charitable organizations that benefit from the financial and volunteer support, and American taxpayers more than a century after they were created.