Bernard Rapoport Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Texas is home to many philanthropic activists. But rarely is there an individual who truly embodies the literal meaning of the word philanthropy: ‘one who loves humanity.’ Bernard Rapoport is this individual. Many will recognize Bernard as the founder of American Income Life Insurance Company (AIL), a company that provides supplemental life, health, and accident insurance to labor unions, credit unions, and associations.
It’s no coincidence that Bernard, someone who loves humanity so much, would start a company that gives its customers financial support when they need it the most – after the loss of a loved one. American Income Life still carries on Bernard’s principles of giving. AIL has a long history and rich tradition of partnering with the working family community through national and local leaders, advocating for key issues and campaigns, and investing in a public agenda that reflects the core values of importance to all working people.
On Nov. 3, 2011, Bernard Rapoport received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Texas Association of Fundraising Professionals. This award was for his generous donations and support for various programs and causes in the central Texas area. Though Bernard’s generosity is not limited to Texas, it’s the place he calls home.
Bernard Rapoport was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1917 to Jewish Russian immigrants. The Rapoport family lived mostly in poverty, especially during the Great Depression, with their main source of income from the father selling blankets on the street. Eventually, Rapoport was able to save enough money to attend the University of Texas at Austin. In 1939, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics, still holding down the full-time job that got him through college. Shortly after graduating, he met his future wife, Audre, in 1942. In 1951, Bernard founded American Income Life Insurance Company.
During his time with AIL, Bernard shaped the Company into a socially conscious entity. He implemented a policy still in force today where American Income Life Representatives collect canned food when they meet clients. This way, if any clients are ever down on their luck, American Income Life Insurance Company can provide them with food. This practice is continued today.
In 1981, Bernard and his wife created the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. The foundation supports education, literacy, the arts, health, and community building. Through this organization, Bernard has supported many different programs and organizations, ranging from colleges to community theaters. Bernard has also served a six-year term on the Board of Regents at the University of Texas System. He was elected Chairman from 1993 to 1997.
Bernard has been a member of various other organizations:
- Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (appointed by former President Bill Clinton)
- Economic Policy Institute
- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
- Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
- Library of Congress Trust Fund Board
- National Hispanic University Trustee Emeritus
- National Jobs For All Coalition
Currently 94 years young, Bernard shows no signs of slowing down and is still passionate about helping others. To see how Bernard Rapoport’s legacy has inspired American Income Life to help others, visit American Income Life Charitable Giving and Contributions.