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The year was 1895. The time period was coined the Gay Nineties, but there was little to be happy about in the U.S. – especially for women. They couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property in all states, and weren’t generally allowed to own life insurance. However, the nine women who founded Royal Neighbors of America helped change things by creating an organization with a vision to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families and communities. That’s how Royal Neighbors became one of the first to insure women in the U.S., and later one of the first to insure children, too.


Today, Royal Neighbors, rated “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificateholders, is one of the largest women-led life insurers in the nation. For more than 126 years, the founding mission of empowering women and their families through financial protection solutions and opportunities to give back to their communities is as relevant and important as ever. Although much has changed since 1895, Royal Neighbors continues to meet the needs of women and their families through each stage of their lives with annuities and life insurance products such as whole life, term, simplified issue, and universal life.

Our History


It started with a simple notice Marie Kirkland placed in the newspaper. The ad invited the wives of all Modern Woodmen members, an organization that insured only men at that time, to meet to arrange for a social. Eight women responded and they formed, albeit briefly, a ladies auxiliary. One year later the women embarked on a new mission to create an organization focused on empowering women. The founders began the formal process to change the name to Royal Neighbors of America, combining a focus of neighbor-helping-neighbor with the word “royal,” that signified their belief in the nobility of the work they would do. A petition for charter to offer insurance was sent to the Illinois Secretary of State in Springfield. All requirements were completed, and the charter was signed March 21, 1895, making Royal Neighbors of America one of the first organizations to offer life insurance to women. It also became one of the first to insure children in 1918.


Royal Neighbors continued to be on the forefront of social change. The organization provided public support of the suffragette movement and the 19th amendment, provided disaster aid during the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, and received the Treasury Silver Medal for outstanding assistance of the War and Victory Loan campaigns for purchasing more than $13 million in war bonds during World War II.


And it doesn’t stop there. Royal Neighbors continues to help women build financial security so they can accomplish greatness on their own terms, as well as participate in “neighbor-helping-neighbor” activities that improve the communities where they work and live. Since 1895, Royal Neighbors of America has held true to its mission to support women and those they care about by providing opportunities that other organizations don’t.



The Royal Neighbors Difference


Philanthropy is part of Royal Neighbors’ DNA. It’s our call to action. It is part of being a fraternal benefit society and an organization with a dual mission of providing financial security (through life insurance and annuities) and “neighbor-helping-neighbor” community service. At no additional cost, Royal Neighbors members have access to free and discounted services designed to help them save money on legal services, vision and dental services, telehealth visits, and more. For more information call (800) 627-4762 or visit our  Member Savings page.

Today, we have more than 220,000+ members across the nation volunteering in their communities and through our chapter system.

The impact has been significant. In 2020 Royal Neighbors and its members provided:

  • $19+ million in “Social Good” from charitable and volunteer activities
  • More than 287,000+ volunteer hours

In addition to our chapter system focusing on local, grassroots community programs, Royal Neighbors of America also sponsors a variety of philanthropy programs to help both members and/or the general public.


*As of December 2020, Royal Neighbors is rated A Excellent (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. For the latest Best’s Credit Rating, access ambest.com.

Philanthropy Programs


Nation of Neighbors℠

Royal Neighbors’ signature women’s empowerment program, Nation of Neighbors, provides financial assistance to individuals who have a plan to start or expand a business, organization or group that helps women and/or girls in their community. Previous recipients lead programs that feed the hungry, counsel sex trafficking victims, mentor at-risk girls, care for the homeless, and more.


In 2021, $100,000 in grant money will be distributed through the Nation of Neighbors Program. More than $2 million has been awarded to grant recipients since the program began in 2007. Nation of Neighbors recipients must be nominated by a Royal Neighbors Beneficial Member, Agent, or chapter leader, but nominees do not have to be a member to receive the grant.


Difference Maker Fund

If a member has a cause that is close to their heart, Royal Neighbors can help them turn their passion into action. Our members can apply for funds to help get their projects off the ground. Through the Difference Maker Fund, members have sent care packages to military troops, collected supplies for the local women’s shelter, raised funds for the school music program, and so much more.

The funds are distributed to Royal Neighbors members who, with their friends and family, carry out their Difference Maker Fund projects.


Scholarships

Since its creation in 1961, the Royal Neighbors of America Scholarship Program has awarded more than $5 million to its members to assist with the costs of continuing education.


All eligibility requirements and additional information can be found on our Scholarships page.


Member Relief Fund

The Member Relief Fund was created as a way to help members who have experienced extreme financial hardship as a result of illness, personal injury, or natural disasters. Qualifying Beneficial Members receive a $200 check to help with immediate needs. To date, Royal Neighbors has granted more than $1 million through its Member Relief Fund.


Our Products


Royal Neighbors is licensed in 43 states and the District of Columbia and not all products are available in all states.

In its latest financial overview in 2020, Royal Neighbors reported another successful year. In addition:

  • Assets: more than $1.1 billion under management
  • Has a certificateholders' surplus of $187 million

RATING
A.M. Best Credit Rating of A Excellent (3rd highest out of 13 for overall financial strength)*

(As of December 31, 2020)

*As of December 2020, Royal Neighbors is rated A Excellent (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. For the latest Best’s Credit Rating, access ambest.com.



Executive Team and Board of Directors


A complete list of bios for Executive Team and Board of Directors can be found on our Leadership page.

Cynthia Tidwell

Cynthia Tidwell
President/CEO

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Royal Neighbors Rock Island IL Home Office 

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Videos

video still of The Balancing Act

Join Cynthia Tidwell, President/CEO of Royal Neighbors, as she shares her tips for empowering your financial future on “The Balancing Act®” airing on Lifetime Television®. Lifetime is the eighth-largest cable network and reaches 98 million households.

video still of Channel 4

Cynthia Tidwell, Royal Neighbors President/CEO discusses Royal Neighbors' Nation of Neighbors program.

Royal Neighbors Locations:


Home Office:
230 16th Street 
Rock Island, IL 61201 

Branch Office:
4838 E. Baseline Road, Suite 102 
Mesa, AZ 85206 

Media Relations: 
(309) 732-8376 

Toll-free: 
(800) 627-4762

Contact Us

Marie Young
Manager, Communicationsg
(309) 732-8280
Marie.Young@royalneighbors.org

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Form #: P00002; Rev. 8-2021