The City of Atlanta is renowned the world over for playing a major role in the advancement of minority business in America. Any discussion of equal business opportunity, historic Auburn Avenue, Black Wall Street or our rich Civil Rights history would not be complete without the inclusion of Atlanta Life Insurance Company, one of the oldest and most prestigious black-owned businesses in the nation. Founded in 1905 by Alonzo Herndon – a barber, entrepreneur and a formerly enslaved person – Atlanta Life is the longest tenured black-owned insurance firm in the nation, and a certified GMSDC Minority Business Enterprise for longer than anyone can remember. Mr. Herndon was driven to launch the company by his compassion for his fellow Atlantans, when he witnessed local families who were struggling to bury their loved ones. Atlanta Life is not sitting on its laurels, however, as the company continues to evolve and expand, to offer more services to customers and fulfill its core mission to strengthen communities.
In January of this year, Atlanta Life was acquired by Atlanta Life Holdings, an ownership group comprised of African American investors and financial services professionals. The result was a financially stronger, more dynamic and more diversified company, with the funding and leadership capital to spread its wings and soar into new territory. According to Ryan Smith, a financial services leader who now serves as the Executive Vice President of Atlanta Life, the company has a very bright future, indeed. “We are thrilled to take the reins of such a globally recognizable brand that has had so much of an impact on our communities,” he says. “In addition to a significant infusion of capital, the acquisition will allow the company to take on new challenges and elevate its level of community engagement.”
Atlanta Life makes a difference in communities through the Herndon Foundation, which offers programs like the Legacy Lab, a major youth initiative whose focus is academic excellence, financial acumen, teamwork, entrepreneurship, and other important life skills. The Herndon Directors Institute embraces high potential minorities mid-career, coaching and mentoring them in preparation for roles in executive positions, C-Suites and Board Rooms. The company’s primary business is as a Group Benefits provider for companies and their employees, but a full portfolio of insurance and financial services will be available in the future. The Herndon tradition of business that also serves the community lives on, having undergone a slight facelift to prepare for a very bright future. The GMSDC is proud of its long relationship with this amazing MBE, and we celebrate the awesome legacy that is the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. For more information, visit atlantalife.com.