When 22 undergraduate women founded Delta Sigma Theta on the campus of Howard University on January 13, 1913, their intent was to establish a public service organization. The vision of 22 dynamic young women has united hundreds of thousands of women across the globe. Our shared mission is to confront the challenges facing African Americans, women and girls and to build stronger, healthier families and communities.

Detroit Deltas conduct a wide range of programs that address issues and concerns related to education, health, social justice, international development and the strengthening of the African American family. This includes working in metro Detroit homeless shelters, mentoring youth, providing college scholarships, and hosting entrepreneurship initiatives, expungement fairs, healthy living events, political awareness forums and more.

The chapter’s programs are based upon the organization’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust:

  • Community Outreach
  • Educational Development/Youth Programs
  • Economic Development
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • International Awareness and Involvement
  • Social Action/Political Awareness and Involvement

The mission of the Community Outreach Committee is to create, initiate and coordinate programs that address issues, including hunger and homelessness, that affect individuals and families in the chapter’s service area. Activities include organizing an annual community shred day, collecting incontinence products for residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, preparing meals at local soup kitchens, serving an annual meal to veterans, providing treats for neighborhood children during Halloween, and providing toys for disadvantaged children during the holidays.

National economic trends, such as unstable employment, the threat to Social Security as we know it, and the widening gap between wealth and poverty are the basis for the development of Financial Fortitude, the current Economic Development program initiative of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Financial Fortitude is a process that helps participants set and define goals, then develop and implement an action plan to achieve them. The process serves as a blueprint to address all aspects of personal finances.


The Financial Fortitude initiative is comprised of 10 components: goal setting, financial planning, budgeting, debt management, savings and investments, retirement planning, homeownership, insurance, estate planning, and entrepreneurship. It also provides information from major economic corporations and other well-known financial institutions.


The chapter’s most recent efforts have focused on debt management and entrepreneurship. The chapter is encouraging members and the community to participate in the dFree initiative, a nationwide campaign to help individuals reduce or eliminate debt. The chapter also hosted a three-part entrepreneurship workshop series and a reception honoring the winner of the sorority’s National Women-Business Owned Competition. For the past two years, the chapter has hosted a children’s business fair to encourage young people between the ages of six and 18 to start and run their own companies. To learn more, contact econdev@detroitdeltas.org.

Children’s Business Fair registration: childrensbusinessfair.org/detroitdeltas

As an organization of predominantly African American women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is uniquely positioned to impact not only the well-being of its membership but also the families and communities we serve. Chapter initiatives address challenges of living holistic and healthy lives and seeks to help people develop healthy habits centered around nutrition, physical activity, and mental health. Programs have included blood drives, fairs, and free fitness activities (e.g., Zumba, yoga, hustle night, etc.) as well as breast cancer screenings, collection of incontinence briefs, and women’s health education forums. The chapter also hosts an annual event on World AIDS Day, participates in local walks focused on raising awareness about various health issues (e.g., breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, organ donation, etc.), and offers a senior resource fair in conjunction with its Project FOCUS efforts. For more information, email health@detroitdeltas.org.



When 22 collegiate women decided to found Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., their intent was clear: to establish an organization that was committed to advocating for the rights of marginalized and disenfranchised citizens, particularly African Americans and women. They sought to be catalysts for change and women who could harness the power of their collective strength and vision to educate, engage, and empower others as they worked to ensure equal access, opportunity and justice for all citizens. In a demonstration of their dedication to social action, the Founders’ first act of public service was to participate in the Women’s Suffrage March, which took place a few weeks after the sorority was established.


Since that time, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has continued to focus on addressing issues that affect our community. For more than 80 years, the Detroit Alumnae Chapter has initiated and coordinated a number of programs aimed at promoting social action and political awareness and involvement. The chapter has coordinated voter registration drives, hosted voter education forums, participated in Delta Days in the State Capital and Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital, supported the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy March, and sponsored expungement and second chance fairs.


To learn more about the chapter’s social action programs, follow us on social media, download our brochure, or contact us at socialaction@detroitdeltas.org.

Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy

Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy was created out of an urgent sense that bold action was needed to save girls between the ages of 11 and 14 from the perils of academic failure, low self-esteem, and crippled futures. Delta Academy provides an opportunity for the Detroit Alumnae Chapter to enrich and enhance girls’ education. The chapter seeks to augment their scholarship in math, science, and technology and their opportunities to provide service in the form of leadership through service learning, which is defined as the cultivation and maintenance of relationships. A primary goal of the program is to prepare young girls for full participation as leaders in the 21st Century.


The Detroit Alumnae Chapter works with girls at local elementary and/or middle schools from September through May. Participants attend monthly sessions during which they engage in activities that promote STEM education, develop leadership, provide mentoring, and build self-esteem.


For more information, email ShabazzAcademy@detroitdeltas.org.


Delta GEMS

A natural outgrowth and expansion of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, Delta GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully) was created support African-American at-risk, adolescent girls between the ages of 14 and 18. Delta GEMS provides the framework to actualize those dreams through the performance of specific tasks that help participants develop a “can do” attitude.


The goals for Delta GEMS are to:

  1. instill the need to excel academically;
  2. provide tools that enable girls to sharpen and enhance their skills to achieve high levels of academic success;
  3. assist girls in proper goal setting and planning for their futures in high school and beyond; and
  4. create compassionate, caring, and community-minded young women by actively involving them in service learning and community service opportunities.


Our GEMS program kicks off at the beginning of each school year. High school girls participate in monthly workshops and community service activities to develop and enhance their leadership, communication, and collaboration skills; learn life skills related to financial planning, etiquette, and digital citizenship; promote excellence in academic achievement; prepare for college and careers; and strengthen their self-image and confidence.


Applications are distributed once a year, usually during an open house that takes place in February. For more information, email DeltaGEMS@detroitdeltas.org.



EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) is designed to refocus the efforts of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, with the support and action of other major organizations, on the plight of African-American males. Both informal and empirical data suggests that the vast majority of African-American males continue to be in crisis and are not reaching their fullest potential educationally, socially and emotionally. EMBODI is designed to address these issues through dialogue and recommendations for change and action. EMBODI addresses issues related to STEM education, culture, self-efficacy, leadership, physical and mental health, healthy lifestyle choices, character, ethics, relationships, college readiness, fiscal management, civic engagement and service learning.


Our program targets young men between the ages of 11 and 17. Participants attend monthly sessions that focus on a variety of topics, including communication, leadership, college planning and preparation, career readiness, financial planning, and interacting with law enforcement. For more information, email EMBODI@detroitdeltas.org.





"Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time."

-Marian Wright Edelman