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The Emerald Award, an annual recognition program honoring women who have made significant contributions to the community, was developed from a concept previously implemented by a member of the Raleigh Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.    


In 1990, Mrs. Lucille Holcombe Webb hosted at her Tierney Circle home  a  luncheon to honor four women whom she described as “Women Making A Difference.” Mrs. Webb was an administrator with Raleigh City Schools and later, after consolidation, with the Wake County Schools. Her leadership in public health was national in scope. She served on the Wake County Board of Health and both The Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Disease and Prevention engaged her to lead initiatives addressing inequities in the health of the nation’s ethnic minorities.

At this luncheon in 1990, following a sumptuous buffet for approximately thirty  guests, Mrs. Webb shared a brief synopsis about each of the honoree’s contributions and the reasons for their special recognitions. Four persons were honored on this occasion: Norma W. Haywood, Sydney J. Roberts, Leolia G. Spaugh, and JoAnne Drane. Reflecting on this occasion some 17 years  later  and remembering the presence of persons who had attended the event in 1990 but who were no longer living, Mrs. Webb decided to host a second “Women Making A Difference” luncheon in 2007.    

The Capital City Club of Raleigh was the location for this second luncheon. The guest list had increased to over 100, and more than 60 women were recognized for being change agents in their respective communities across North Carolina. North Carolina Supreme Court Justice, Patricia Timmons Goodson, who had recently been elected as the first female African American on the court, headed this group of honorees.

In  2010, with the permission of Mrs. Webb, The Raleigh (NC) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated adopted the concept of recognizing women making a difference and further adapted Mrs. Webb’s idea of honoring and celebrating the extraordinary achievement of women in our community who better the quality of our lives and who make contributions that have lasting impacts. Thus was established the inaugural Emerald Award  in April 2010, presented by the Raleigh (NC) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

With the eighth annual program, 38 honorees  will have received the Emerald Award. This  prestigious honor now exemplifies the combination of an international women’s organization’s dedication to serving others with a Raleigh pioneer’s vision to ensure women are recognized  for making a difference. The Raleigh (NC) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated forever applauds Mrs. Webb for her vision and her action. The Emerald Award will continue as an instrument to  ensure women of North Carolina are honored for their impact locally and globally.

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