Tau Beta Association was founded in 1901 by four young high school women: Eloise Jenks, Hildegarde Meigs, Marian Stinchfield and Margaret Snow. Their first full-fledged project was in 1906 and consisted of a diet kitchen under the direction of the Visiting Nurses’ Association. In 1908, they and their associates raised money to provide for the first Tuberculosis Cottage which was the beginning of Herman Kiefer Hospital.
In 1916, Tau Beta established a Community House on Hanley Street in Hamtramck. It provided a day nursery, clinic and first and only library in Hamtramck. The Community House became one of the finest in the country and was studied, copied and praised by many social workers and civic leaders. The music program at the Community House provided the foundation of today’s Center for Creative Studies Institute of Music and Dance.
In 1929, a campsite was purchased in Columbiaville, Michigan and building funds were made available in 1934. Tau Beta maintained, operated and financially supported Tau Beta Camp. Campers included many non-profit groups including schools, youth groups, The Children’s Home of Detroit, and most notably, the Michigan Diabetes Association. From 1960 to 1994, Tau Beta Camp served as a medically staffed, safe environment for children who suffered with diabetes to enjoy the fun of summer camp.
From 1994 on, it was increasingly difficult to attract truly needy groups to Tau Beta Camp. Low camp utilization, rising maintenance costs and skyrocketing insurance premiums forced Tau Beta to reconsider whether the Camp was a “good fit” for the membership. Eventually, Tau Beta Camp was sold in 2007. In the interim, Tau Beta membership voted in January of 2004 to partner with The Children’s Center of Detroit and focus our volunteer and fundraising efforts at this worthwhile institution. Located near the Detroit Medical Center, and established in 1929, The Children’s Center serves the mental and emotional well-being of thousands of at-risk children and families in Detroit.