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

This award was established by Joan Mannheimer and 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.

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 reproductive freedom, 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

The nomination form is available as both a Google Form and a Microsoft Word document (link to download here). Nominators are welcome to answer application questions in writing or by recording a video.

Send the completed form and any additional material for consideration to with “Mannheimer Award” in the subject line. Alternatively, you can print and mail it to: ACLU of Iowa, c/o Mannheimer Award, 505 5th Ave, #808, Des Moines, IA 50309.

If you have technical difficulties or questions while accessing the form or submitting your nomination, please reach out to us at or 515-207-5448.

Completed nomination forms must be received by Sunday, November 5, 2023.


The young person must be age 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, have had a variety of addresses in more than one state over the past several months, and/or are experiencing homelessness.

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

2023 Winners
2022 Winners
2021 Winners
2020 Winners
2019 Winners
2018 Winners
2017 Winners
2016 Winners
2015 Winner
2014 Winner
2013 Winner