The EMERALD CIVIC SOCIETY was established in 1968 to enhance the social and cultural life of the Irish-American community in Cleveland. The organization was founded by a group of Cleveland men who decided to add excitement to Cleveland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade by bringing in a well-known marching band; society members also began marching in the parade themselves, dressed in top hats, tails, and gloves, and wearing carnations. In order to raise money to bring a prominent marching unit such as the Univ. of Notre Dame band to each St. Patrick's Day Parade, the society began to sponsor annual fundraising events, such as the Emerald Ball and Irish Nights in the FLATS. By 1970 these events were also funding a scholarship program for students entering Catholic high schools. A membership decline from 200 in 1972 to 50 in the 1990s led to an abeyance of many of the society's activities. In 1995 the Civic Society maintained a $5,000 scholarship fund for worthy academic and cultural programs related to Irish heritage and history.