Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society Records, 1908-1994, 2008


In 1908, a group of immigrants from Slovenia formed a lodge on the south side of Milwaukee in order to collect and disburse funeral and sick benefits for its members, and called themselves Sloga. Most of the immigrants left their homeland in Slovenia, which was ruled at that time by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families. They coped with language and cultural differences in their new homeland, but a main concern was financial protection for their families. Forming a fraternal organization fulfilled the need for these Slovenian Americans to gather together socially and support each other in times of need.

With over 100 members, Sloga became one of the strongest lodges of its type in Milwaukee at that time. In the next few years, additional Sloga lodges were formed in Port Washington, Sheboygan, Grafton, and West Allis. The original group in Milwaukee became Sloga Lodge #1.

In 1910, the lodge drafted its first by-laws. Around 1915, delegates from five lodges convened at 163 Reed St. (now S. 2nd St.) on the south side of Milwaukee and voted to rename the organization "Jugoslovansko Podporno Zdruzenje Sloga" (JPZ Sloga), Yugoslav Aid Association-Unity. In 1915, the organization was incorporated in the State of Wisconsin. The organization eventually changed its name to SSBU Sloga (South-Slavic Benevolent Union-Sloga) and later, Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society.

In 1994, the last convention of the Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society voted to merge with the Croatian Fraternal Union of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since 1994, the membership has been known as CFU/Sloga Milwaukee Lodge #1994.

Over the years, Sloga had faithfully continued its concern with the betterment of its members. In addition to offering various life insurance products, Sloga instituted sick benefits, a mortgage program, and a university scholarship program.

Sloga had a rich history of sponsoring social and athletic activities for members of all ages. These included Slovenian singing and theatrical groups; softball, basketball, bowling, and fishing events; children's Christmas parties, annual picnics, and Slovenian cooking schools. Currently, Sloga Milwaukee Lodge #1994 continues to offer the Sloga Scholarship Program to its members. In addition to supporting activities in the Slovenian American community in the Milwaukee area, the lodge makes annual contributions to the Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, the Ronald McDonald House, and Salvation Army.