Become a Member
Membership is open to all individuals who are of good moral character and who are judged supportive of the purpose and ethnic heritage of the Polish Falcons of America. In addition to our insurance and annuity offerings, we also provide Members with a variety of other benefits.
Polish Falcons of America (PFA), one of the nation’s leading Polish-American organizations, is an ethnic fraternal benefit society with over 21,000 Members nationwide. Since its inception, the Polish Falcons of America has provided for the physical, social, cultural and financial welfare of its Members. From its origins in the great immigrant movement of the last century, to the demands of today’s fast-paced world, the PFA has a rich history of promoting physical fitness, cultural programs and family-based activities.
Under its time-honored motto of “w Zdrowym Ciele, Zdrowy Duch” - “A Healthy Spirit in a Healthy Body,” the Polish Falcons offers a wide range of programs for its Members. These include charitable and social events, sports activities and educational programs, some of which promote our rich Polish heritage. The Falcons also support various youth camps, athletic tournaments and competitions. Based on the “Nest” or lodge system, the Falcons invites as Members any individual who is of good moral character, and who is supportive of the organization’s values and ethnic ideals.
The Polish Falcons offers insurance and annuity products that have proven to be both a safe and reliable way to protect Members and their families since 1928. Support of these products enables PFA to sustain its range of programs across the country.
Czolem! (pronounced "cho-wem"), the official Falcons’ salutation, is literally translated as “to the forehead” or “hail." Czolem is one of the oldest forms of Polish salutes and is used as a greeting, a farewell, and as an expression of best wishes.
From its beginnings, Polish identity has been ingrained within the mission and activities of Polish Falcons of America.
For hundreds of years, Poland was a major European economic, political powerhouse and the largest country in Europe. Seen as a threat to the neighboring authoritarian empires of Russia, Prussia and Austria, in the late 1700s Poland was invaded, its vast territory divided and its culture and language suppressed. This foreign occupation was brutal, lasting over 120 years, and resulted in a series of unsuccessful insurrections against this foreign oppression.
The modern Falcon organization is a direct descendent of a similar organization established in Poland four years after the unsuccessful January Uprising of 1863 against Czarist Russia. Devoted to physical fitness and physical education, the Polish Falcons adopted the Latin maxim "mens sana in corpore sano," or in Polish, “w Zdrowym Ciele, Zdrowy Duch" - "A Healthy Spirit in a Healthy Body." Such efforts were intended to “regenerate” the Polish nation through disciplined physical fitness, preparing the nation for eventual independence. In this spirit, the first Falcon Nest, or lodge, in the United States was organized by Felix L. Pietrowicz in Chicago, Ill. in 1887. In 1912, the organization’s headquarters were moved to Pittsburgh, which is centrally located between the two largest centers of Polish-American communities, New York and Chicago. These American Falcons adopted as their patron the Polish Patriot, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who fought for both the independence of Poland and the United States.
The vision of a resurrected, free Poland was close to the hearts of the early Falcon organization, which became a leader among Polish-American groups in working toward this goal. By 1917, over 25,000 young Polish-American men were trained by the Polish Falcons to serve in a proposed Polish military force. During World War I, these Falcon-trained troops became the core of the Polish-American expeditionary force in France and the eventual nucleus of the Polish Army. At the Polish Falcons Convention held in Pittsburgh on April 3, 1917, the renowned pianist and future premier of newly independent Poland, Ignacy Paderewski, delivered a rousing speech that sparked the recruitment of a Polish Army in the United States to fight for the Western Allies against Germany. Over 35,000 Polish-American men enlisted in the Allied war effort. In particular, these Falcon trained troops fought in the famous “Blue Army” under the leadership of General Jozef Haller. When Poland regained its independence in 1918, these troops helped to form the nucleus of the young country’s armed forces as neighboring countries immediately attacked Poland, including the fierce Bolshevik Red Army that was planning on spreading communism into Europe by invading Poland.
Once Polish independence was secured, the Polish Falcons of America could turn its attention to improving the lives of its Members. The early part of the 20th century was a time when few social services were available and working conditions, particularly for Polish immigrants, were particularly harsh. There were no public health and recreation programs, no social security or retirement benefits, and conditions in the work place were often dangerous. Immigrant men were forced to work extremely long hours for little pay, under difficult and often life-threatening conditions. If the head of the house died in an industrial accident or was incapacitated, the surviving family often faced impoverishment. Polish Falcons of America addressed these problems by offering life insurance programs for the Polish-American community at reasonable cost. The Falcons also offered recreational activities for Falcon youth in areas where no other such services were available. And, combined with these and other programs, the Falcons remained loyal to their commitment to the Polish heritage.