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The Herndon Foundation

In 1905, former slave Alonzo Franklin Herndon founded what would become the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Today, Atlanta Life Financial Group is the only African-American owned and privately held stock company in the country with a financial services platform that includes asset management and insurance. For more information on the storied history Click Here

The Faces Behind The Legacy

The History


Alonzo Franklin Herndon is born

in Walton County, Georgia to Frank Herndon, a white farmer, and Sophenie, his slave. By the time of his death in 1927, Herndon was Atlanta, Georgia’s wealthiest African American and one of the first black millionaires in the United States


A free'd slave, upcoming business mogul

Herndon worked on his father’s plantation near Social Circle, Georgia. Freed by the 13th Amendment, Herndon and his mother, younger brother, and maternal grandparents became sharecroppers. Herndon supplemented the family income by working as day laborer and peddler of peanuts, homemade molasses, and axle grease.


Business thrives in Jonesboro, Ga

at the age of 20, Herndon left his family and moved to Jonesboro, Georgia where he opened his first barbershop. This lead him to open three more barbershops in Atlanta. As his earnings grew, Herndon began investing in real estate, purchasing more than 100 rental & commercial properties.


The most successful black owned business nationally

Herndon purchased a failing insurance company, which he incorporated as Atlanta Mutual Insurance Association. He took over a company which had $5,000 in assets in 1905.


Herndon purchased other failing insurance companies

the company had more than $400,000 in assets. That year Herndon changed the name of the company to Atlanta Life Insurance Company. The Company rapidly expanded, establishing branches in Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.


Business excellence

Alonzo Herndon's acquisition strategy made Atlanta Life one of the most successful black businesses in the nation by the 1920s.

The Legacy Continues

Herndon Game Changers

The mission of the Alonzo F. Herndon Game Changer Entrepreneur Program is to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in our community by providing programs that encourage youth to stay in school, recognize business opportunities, and plan for successful futures.

Our Outcomes
Outcomes of the program include:
  • increased problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • improved interpersonal
  • communication skills
  • job readiness skills
  • enhanced social psychological development
Our Learning Environment
Our learning environment gives students a chance to experience cooperative, engaging problem-based learning in an environment that fosters cohesiveness.
Our Measurement & Assessment
The program will implement various research-based measurement and assessment tools inclusive of but not limited to the following:
  • Pre Assessment (PRA)
  • Learning Style Assessment (LSA)
  • Post Assessment (POA)
Our Team

Our team is comprised of a dedicated group of professional entrepreneurs, marketers, trainers, and professionals with global expertise in business education and development

Our Approach

Outcomes of the program will include

  • Increased problem-solving
  • decision-making abilities
  • improved interpersonal
  • communication skills
  • job readiness skills
  • enhanced social psychological development

The Faces Of Continuing Legacy

Meet the Board

Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation Board of Trustees

Your Company Awaits

Learn about the legacy that changed Black middle class in America. Schedule a visit for you and youtr friends.