Order of the Eastern Star
Dedicated to Charity - Truth - Loving Kindness
The benevolent projects established under the Law of the Order of the Eastern Star are the Eastern Star Benevolence Fund and the Eastern Star Educational Fund.
Two separate Boards control and govern these Funds: the Benevolence Board and the Educational Board. Members serving on these boards are elected by the delegates at the Annual Session of the Grand Chapter of Michigan.
The financial support of these funds is appropriated through donations, gifts, bequests and voluntary contributions from Chapters and individuals. The fund raising activities and projects sponsored by the Grand Chapter and the Subordinate Chapters to provide for the maintenance of these charities continues to be a priority.
No stipend is paid by the Chapters for any member receiving assistance from these funds. The only requirement is that the member be in good standing in the Chapter making the application, and that all information be accurate and current, so that a true determination can be made as to what the needs may be.
It is the support given to these three benevolent projects which affords the members of the Order of the Eastern Star the opportunity to know the satisfaction that comes from dedication to these three virtues:
Charity - Truth - Loving Kindness
The Benevolence Fund was established at the October 2011 Grand Chapter Session by vote of the members present and voting. The membership voted to combine two charities, the Relief Fund and the Villa Fund, into the Benevolence Fund.
The Relief Fund was founded by Louese A. Turck, Past Grand Matron 1894 - 95. The main support for this Fund was the freewill offerings, which came in response to letters sent out by the Worthy Grand Matron requesting gifts and contributions.
In the early years these funds were also used to subsidize a hospital wing and to pay part of the salary of a permanent nurse at the "new" Masonic Home in Alma. Three Past Grand Matrons were appointed to serve with the Masonic Home Board during those first organizational years. The support of the Masonic Home remains a priority of our Order; however, the money no longer came from the Relief Fund.
Eventually, a stipend program was established, which required Chapters with members on the Relief rolls to assume some of the responsibility for the Fund maintenance, monthly or annually. This practice was discontinued and it was incorporated in the Law that this Fund continue and perpetuate for the benefit of the members of the Order, who were in good standing and in need of assistance.
The Villa Fund was established in 1913 by Minnie Keyes, W.G.M. with a per capita tax of five cents to support an orphanage for orphans of our members. In 1918 the Villa was established in Adrian. The number of children residing in the Villa averaged between 30 and 40, ranging in age from birth to sixteen years. The cost of operation was approximately $14,000 per year.
Children were sponsored by a Chapter or a Lodge, and they paid a stipend of fifty cents per week, plus clothing, as long as the child resided at the Villa. Special contributions made to the "Happiness Fund" by Chapters and individuals provided the little extra surprises that contribute to the joy needed in every child's life. This Fund still provides extra Joy for each child on the Villa Fund rolls at Christmas time.
In 1970 legislation was passed to establish the Eastern Star Villa Fund. In 1971 the Villa was closed, but the Villa Fund continued to offer assistance to children and grandchildren of our members.
Villa funds were available for the benefit, care and education of children, orphans and grandchildren of Eastern Star members or Master Masons. They were provided for use to finance the placing of such children in foster homes or to assist financially in maintaining them in their own homes.
By combining the Relief and Villa Funds into the Benevolence Fund the Benevolence Board is able to provide more comprehensive services to families. According to Law the Benevolence Fund shall continue and perpetuate for the benefit of the members of the Order in good standing, their children, grandchildren or orphans (who have not attained the age of eighteen years). Today, the Fund is very dependent on the generosity of our members.
Requests for assistance are presented by the Chapter, under its seal, using authorized application forms supplied by the Secretary of the Benevolence Board. On approval of the application by the Benevolence Board, checks will be drawn from the Benevolence Fund made payable to the Chapter making the application, and mailed from the Grand Secretary's office to the Chapter Secretary, who is responsible for its delivery to the member in need.
Monthly payments are made under Regular Benevolence. Emergency Benevolence may be given under certain circumstances when immediate assistance may be required.
The Educational Fund was established for the purpose of granting scholarships to qualified students who are attending a college or university within the State of Michigan and are seeking assistance under the ESTARL (Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership) or the Regular Scholarship Program. Special consent must be given by the Board for attendance outside the State of Michigan.
ESTARL Scholarships are granted to students attending seminaries or colleges in preparation for the ministry or other fields of religious leadership. The Estarl Vesper Service, provides for special donations to this fund each year.
Applicants applying for scholarships must be recommended by two members and endorsed by unanimous consent of the members of an Eastern Star Chapter. A Chapter may sponsor two applicants per year; however, they have the option of asking another Chapter to sponsor a student on their behalf if more than two make application to them.
Those eligible are members of Eastern Star Chapters, their children and grandchildren, members of Masonic Lodges, their children and grandchildren, and members of Masonic Youth Organizations (Job's Daughters, Rainbow for Girls, DeMolay).
Additional information may be requested from any member of the Educational Board. All requests for Application Forms should be sent to the Secretary of the Board. The names and addresses are listed in the current Grand Chapter Handbook.
Compiled by Hazel M. Chapman,
Information from Eastern Star Law Book
and "The Eastern Star in Michigan" pamplet
This information was updated January, 2012.