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

Who We’re Looking For

We’re looking for a young person (age 14-19) who advocates for civil liberties with passion and determination—someone who recognizes injustices and finds ways to correct them.  Areas of focus might include racial justice, free speech, free expression, LGBTQ issues, immigrants' rights, gender equality, religious freedom, government and technology privacy issues, or disability rights. The ACLU of Iowa works to defend everyone's rights--even when it isn’t popular, even when no one else will-- and we are interested in recognizing a young person who encapsulates that same spirit.

Who Can Make a Nomination

Anyone familiar with a young person’s accomplishments is encouraged to nominate one or multiple young people. That means parents, teachers, guardians, religious leaders, advocacy groups, community leaders, another young person and others may make a nomination.

A young person may also submit their own nomination.

How to Make a Nomination

Click here for the nomination form. Send the complete form to Alternatively, you can print and mail it to: ACLU of Iowa, c/o Mannheimer Award, 505 5th Ave, #808, Des Moines, IA 50309.

Completed nomination forms must be received by Sunday, November 21, 2021.


The young person must be aged 14 to 19 at the time of nomination and live in Iowa.

The immigration status of the nominee does not matter for this award. Special consideration will be given to young people who are transient, traveling among various states to be with family or for work, or for youth who have been homeless or have had a variety of addresses in more than one state over the past several months.

ACLU of Iowa staff, current board members, and their close relatives are not eligible.

More Information

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa does not stipulate that the award monies be used for any specific purpose. The prize may be used by the applicant for any legal purpose. For more information, contact us at

Past Winners

2021 Winners
2020 Winner
2019 Winner
2018 Winner 
2017 Winner
2016 Winner
2015 Winner
2014 Winner
2013 Winner