Royal Neighbors of America, one of the largest and first women-led insurance organizations in the U.S., based in Rock Island, is awarding Jodie Barton, executive director of New Kingdom Trailriders (NKT), Sherrard, Ill., with one of 10 Nation of Neighbors empowerment awards and grants presented nationwide.

In addition to the award, she will receive a $10,000 grant for her organization.

Founded in 1984, New Kingdom Trailriders is the Quad Cities’ premier nonprofit Therapeutic Horseback Riding Facility, positively impacting the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of riders. NKT empowers individuals of all ages and abilities to reach their full potential through equine-assisted activities.

“Our volunteers and horses create an environment that is one of true acceptance and encouragement where everyone is allowed to be their unique self,” Barton said in a Friday release from RNA. “We focus on each person’s abilities and empower them.”

As executive director, Barton built a volunteer base that shares her passion for providing riders with therapeutic services. NKT is now giving nearly 100 lessons per week with 11 horses and with the help of approximately 200 volunteers per year.

Barton will be presented with the empowerment award and grant by Royal Neighbors of America on Saturday, Oct. 2. “Through Jodie’s work, countless individuals and volunteers have experienced the magic of therapeutic riding,” said RNA vice president Curt Zeck. “Her profound purpose helps others grow and live a more fulfilling life, and this exemplifies Royal Neighbors’ 126-year-old mission to empower women and build strong communities.”

Barton says NKT plans to use the grant funds to purchase more program horses. “This will give us more variety of ‘personalities’ to match with riders, as well as help ensure our herd program longevity,” she said. “More importantly, it will allow New Kingdom Trailriders the opportunity to continue enrolling riders, empowering our community’s most vulnerable.”

Royal Neighbors has granted nearly $2.5 million through its Nation of Neighbors program.

Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that awards financial assistance to nominated individuals who plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, nearly $2.5 million has been awarded nationwide.

RNA is a unique provider of life insurance and annuities whose mission is to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families, and communities. Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children.

In 2020, Royal Neighbors was upgraded to “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, visit