First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association

About Us

About FCSLA
President's Welcome
Board of Directors
National Officers
Producer Locator
Privacy Policy
History
FAQs
Annual Report
125th Anniversary

Products

Product Overview
Life Insurance
Annuities
Fraternal Benefits
Life Cost Quote
Forms
Glassary of Terms

Fraternal

Fraternal Department
District Pages
FCSLA In the Community
Fraternally Yours Magazine
Scholarship Opportunites
Friends & Family Rewards Branch Officers

Cultural

Slovak Culture and History
Slovak‑American Cookbook
Slovak U.S.A.

Producer's Page

Information and Resources
Illustration System Login

Contact

Contact FCSLA Life

Polish Women's Alliance of America:
Home | Events | Holiday Recipes | Polish Traditions | Useful Links | Archives

Archives

History of PWA


Stefania Chmielinska
Founder of PWA

 

Zwiazek Polek w Ameryce, Polish Women's Alliance of America (PWA), was founded by Stefania Chmielinska (1866 - 1939) on May 22, 1898, in Chicago, Illinois, as a fraternal benefit society for Polish immigrant women. Its mission was to provide financial security to its members, and to preserve Polish culture and heritage. And this mission continues to this day.

Fraternal benefit societies were popular institutions in 19th century America, affording social and fiscal services not available from other sources. The financial foundation of these organizations, often established by ethnic or religious groups, was life insurance. At a time when life expectancy was much shorter than today, and antibiotics were not widely available prevent deaths from infections and disease, burial expenses could ruin a family struggling financially, especially if more than one member of the family succumbed to an illness. Fraternal societies offered life insurance, emergency aid, and social and educational benefits to help immigrants adjust to life in America and to deal with emergencies as they came up.

However, women were not only excluded from leadership roles in these fraternal organizations, they were not able to purchase life insurance policies in their own names. The PWA was a pioneering beneficial society, founded by women for women, and it continues as one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the U.S. Its establishment was a historic achievement in an era when women did not have the right to vote and were excluded from most businesses, professions, and institutions of higher learning.

The organization grew quickly, attracting members throughout the country, offering women a place to develop leadership skills, find assistance, foster ties with their homeland, and engage with the world at large. Soon, PWA members found themselves entwined with historic events of their time - the suffrage movement, which impacted their daily lives, and Poland's struggle for independence, which impacted the families they had left behind. Ten years after its founding, PWA had 7,000 members and 25 years later 26,000; membership peaked at 100,000 in the 1960s. Today it numbers 30,000 members, making it the largest Polish women's organization not only in the U.S., but in the world.

In 2017, PWA merged with the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association and continues to offer s a wide array of life insurance plans, annuities, and other financial products to its members. And it continues to support charitable institutions in Poland and in the U.S., promote Polish culture and heritage, and lobby for Polish causes. It also offers college scholarships, travel opportunities, and other educational, social, and youth activities to its members.

Glos Polek Issues

Click on the links below to view issues in PDF format.

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

 

 

 

FCSLA Life

© First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association   All Rights Reserved.  Powered by Dynamics Online
 
FCSLA Life is the marketing name for First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association of the United States of America ("FCSLA").
Insurance products are issued by FCSLA Life. Insurance products are not available in all states.

FCSLA Life