The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is proud to offer awards to Iowans who dedicate their efforts to preserving civil liberties.

These awards are presented annually to Iowans who have made a notable contribution to civil freedoms in our state.

The Robert Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award

The Robert Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award is a $500 cash prize given to a young Iowan aged 14 to 19 who has demonstrated a passion and advocacy for civil liberties.
Who Decides DC Students

The award was established by the family of late Des  Moines attorney Robert Mannheimer who supported the ACLU of Iowa for more than 50 years as a cooperating attorney, board member, and donor. 

For more information about the award and how to nominate a student, click here.

The Louise Noun Award

The Louise Noun Award is given annually by the ACLU of Iowa to honor people who have contributed significantly to the defense of civil liberties.
Louise Noun

This award is named after Louise Noun, the distinguished Des Moines activist, philanthropist and former president of the ACLU of Iowa Board of Directors. It is given to those who have made significant strides or displayed uncommon courage on behalf of civil liberties in the state.
In 2011, for example, the winners were the three former Iowa Supreme Court justices who were ousted after their courageous stand on the Constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marry. In 2010, it was the plaintiffs in Varnum v. Brien, the historic 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that established marriage equality for same-sex couples.

For more information about Noun and the award, click here.
To nominate someone for the Louise Noun award, contact us at

The Edward S. Allen Award

The Edward S. Allen Award was created by the ACLU of Iowa to recognize Iowans who are long-time civil liberties heroes.
Edward Allen

It is named after the founder of the ACLU of Iowa, Edward S. Allen, an Iowa State University math professor and pioneer civil libertarian.
In contrast to our other awards that recognize particular contributions in the year that they are given, the Allen award is given only in years where there are one or more appropriate recipients.

For more information about the award, click here.
To nominate someone for the Edward Allen award, contact us at

Partners in Liberty Award

This award recognizes significant civil liberties contributions and leadership by an organization or coalition. By working together, we are stronger when we partner with organizations with the similar goals, sharing expertise, insights, connections, and resources. For more information about the award, click here.

Dan Johnston Cooperating Attorney Award

This award is named after Dan Johnston, a civil liberties attorney whose work ended up in the history books. Dan died in 2016 but his name lives on in a body of work that started with the ACLU of Iowa case, Tinker v. Des Moines Schools in the 1960s. Tinker was just one chapter in a remarkable and admirable legal career that spanned decades.

To learn more about the award, click here.