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.

If you would like to become a Member of the Polish Falcons of America, or would like more information on our fraternal benefits, please contact John Denning at jdenning@polishfalcons.org.

PFA Online Museum

This online museum is part of an ongoing project to catalog, preserve and display the archival materials located within PFA National Headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.  Over time, the organization has accumulated a considerable amount of material from individual donors and other organizations, including Nests.  This project aims to organize these materials and make them more accessible to the public.

Click here to explore our history.

Our History

Czolem!

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 used as a greeting, a farewell and as an expression of best wishes.

Our Motto

"W Zdrowym Ciele Zdrowy Duch."
"A Healthy Spirit in a Healthy Body."

For nearly 125 years, the Polish Falcons of America has provided for the physical, social and financial welfare of its Members. Countless families from all walks of life have benefited from their Membership in our Polish fraternal benefit society and physical fitness organization.

Our Fraternal Structure

We are a nonprofit fraternal benefit society owned by our insured Members. Our Members belong to local Nests (lodges) within our eight Districts and have a voice in our operations and direction. Members can participate at the Nest, District and National level in a host of exciting social, civic, athletic, and benevolent activities.

Our History

From its beginnings, Polish identity has been ingrained within the mission and activities of the 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 a sound mind in a sound body. (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, Illinois 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 of New York and Chicago.  These American Falcons adopted as their patron 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.  The 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.

Since that time, the mission of the Falcons has been to promote physical fitness within the Polish community, while providing meaningful support for the wellbeing and welfare of Polish-American families. Today, the Polish Falcons offers numerous Member benefits, insurance services, physical education programs and cultural activities to over 23,000 Members throughout the United States.