Women United honored Harriet Jackson as its Woman of the Year during the organization’s fourth annual Red Carpet Gala on Friday night.

The event was conducted online for the first time via Zoom because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

While presenting the Woman of the Year award to Jackson, Women United chair Stephanie Franklin described her as “a lady with a very big heart and a love for her community.

“Though her family’s foundation, she provides support for 800 preschool children in Aiken County to receive age appropriate books mailed to their homes each month through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library,” Franklin continued. “She has sponsored the installation of several Born Learning Trails in local parks. She has participated in our Bookworms reading program, and she is a former member of the United Executive Committee.

“She is a member of Women United and helps sponsor our grant program,” Franklin added. “She is an active member of our United Way Board of Directors.”

Also during the Red Carpet Gala, Women United awarded $14,630 in grants.

The Community Ministry of North Augusta received $6,000 to provide housing for six women and their children who have been homeless or involved in emergency situations and are moving into a house or apartment through the A Place to Call Home project.

Area Churches Together Serving received $5,000 for its Food Program that currently is serving more than 5,300 individuals.

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club received $2,000 to provide programs such as Money Matters, Healthy Habits and Positive Action.

The Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons received $1,360 to purchase over-the-counter medication and air purifiers for the residents of its shelter.

Shawna Lloyd, a project manager for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, was the Red Carpet Gala’s keynote speaker.

Women United is affiliated with the United Way of Aiken County. Its mission is to improve the lives of women and children in Aiken County.

Women United formerly was known as the Women’s Leadership Council.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. For more access to these types of articles subscribe at my special rate. Click here